By Leo Rennie (Senior Legislative & Federal Affairs Officer, APA Public Interest Government Relations Office)
On June 16, the White House announced that President Barack Obama intends to sign an executive order banning employment discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Center for American Progress offers a comprehensive review of the benefits of this executive order. This is a long awaited step in the right direction and you can thank President Obama by sharing these sample tweets:
- #FairnessMeans ending #LGBT employment discrimination by federal contractors in ALL 50 states pic.twitter.com/yhU3eh0EBX
- Thank you, @BarackObama! #FairnessMeans that all workers can bring their whole selves to work.
However, there is still a long distance to go. Did you know that 34 states legally allow employers to fire or withhold an offer of employment based on an individual’s gender identity? And that 29 states allow it based on an individual’s sexual orientation? Enactment of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is still vital to achieving full equality for LGBT workers. ENDA extends current federal employment discrimination protections on the bases of race, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Since passage in the Senate in November 2013, ENDA has stalled in the House of Representatives. ENDA passed the House of Representatives in 2007, but that version of the legislation excluded gender identity as a protected class. The Senate did not vote on the bill that year.
The bill introduced in the current Congress provides federal protections for all LGBT workers. APA has long championed passage of a fully inclusive bill and will continue to advocate strongly for passage in the House of Representatives. You can help! Join our Federal Action Network to receive alerts on ENDA and other priority issues.
Learn more about ENDA:
Isn’t It Time LGBT Individuals Were Federally Protected from Discrimination?
Why ENDA Should Matter to Psychologists
When Policy Gets Under the Skin (In a Good Way): The Case of LGBT Health