President Barack Obama plans to sign executive orders Monday prohibiting discrimination against gay and transgender workers for the federal government and federal contractors.
“The president is right,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said. “We’ve got to end LGBT discrimination in the workplace. Vermont did this 22 years ago when it passed one of the first state laws in the country protecting lesbian and gay workers. Congress should have acted long ago, but Republicans have blocked action. The House won’t even allow a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that the Senate passed last year. That’s why the executive order that President Obama is singing on Monday is an important step in the right direction.”
Sanders and some 200 other members of Congress last March urged Obama act alone and issue an executive order to at least prohibit taxpayer-funded discrimination in federal contractor workplaces. The letter from Sanders and others noted a long history of presidents using executive orders to address workplace discrimination. President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941 prohibited discrimination in defense contracts on the bases of race, creed, color, or national origin. In subsequent executive orders, Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson expanded those protections to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to discriminate.