In an effort to combat employment discrimination on the basis of sexual preference or gender orientation, 110 members of the Congressional Democrats, headed by House Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NH) and Jared Polis (D-CO), sent a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to sign an executive order banning workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
In their letter, the House members described how unacceptable it is to keep it legal to fire or refuse to hire an employee based on his or her sexual preference. So far, 29 states in the U.S. allow such kind of employment malpractice while it is still totally legal in 34 states.
Under a previous executive order, which was signed by President Lyndon Johnson 48 years ago, employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender and national origin is prohibited. Apparently, the prohibition does not include discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Since the said executive order was signed, millions of federal workers were given with significant workplace protections until present. Therefore, if a new executive order would be signed by Obama, an additional 16 million workers from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community will be likewise protected according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.
Last year, similar effort has been made by the House of Representatives. It also sent a similar letter to the current administration which the White House simply ignored. Last month, 37 senators also sent a letter to Obama to sign such executive order but the president has kept avoiding it.
President Obama apparently remains in his stance that although he is sincere in providing equal rights for LGBT, he would not use his executive power to illegalize employment discrimination against LGBT. In fact, in a meeting with the LGBT advocates last year, Obama already expressed his intent to veto workplace discrimination ban on gay employees.
Until present, Obama asserts that he still prefer the comprehensive Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA), which illegalizes employment discrimination based on gender identity. However, many contest that even if ENDA were to pass, employees under businesses with less than 15 employees would still not be protected since they are excluded from the said legislative solution.
Although it sounds unclear why the current administration constantly deny due protections to the LGBT community, advocates of the group still have to a shed a little more effort in pushing the white house to approve such executive order favoring the LGBT, suggested by a Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer.