Last year, 72 members of the House of Representatives wrote to President Obama asking him to issue an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Today, 110 members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama asking for the same action.
In lieu of the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, those members of Congress are asking the President to at least put in place a stopgap measure to end workplace discrimination against members of the LGBT community.
From the Advocate:
On Wednesday 110 Congress
members wrote, “We remain committed to passage of the Employee
Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would ban employment discrimination
based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
However, you can take action today to help prevent these types of unfair
labor practices and to lay the groundwork for passage of ENDA.”
At least 16.5 million Americans would be protected under the proposed
executive order, according to the Williams Institute, as federal
contractors are one of the largest employer subsets in the country. But
currently, it is legal to fire people on the basis of their sexual
orientation in 29 states, and legal to fire people on the basis of their
gender identity or expression in 34 states. Because of this,
approximately 43% of LGB people, and 90% of transgender people have
experienced some sort of workplace discrimination.
“With a majority of American workers living in states that have not
passed laws granting LGBT employees legal protections from workplace
discrimination, an executive order will provide broad protections that
will level the playing field,” the Congress members wrote.