News

Obama to sign order barring federal discrimination against gays

Obama to sign order barring federal discrimination against gays

GAY RIGHTS:U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the commencement ceremony for the University of California, Irvine at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California June 14. Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing

By Jeff Mason

RANCHO MIRAGE Calif. (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, a White House official said on Monday, handing another victory to gay rights activists.

The White House has been pressing Congress to pass legislation to ban employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and has resisted issuing an executive order in favor of pursuing a broader, legislative solution.

But Obama has spent the year taking executive action on a host of other domestic priorities where Congress has failed to make legislative headway, and activists have pressed him to do the same on the issue of gay rights.

“Following on his pledge for this to be a year of action to expand opportunity for all Americans, the president has directed his staff to prepare for his signature an Executive Order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” a White House official said.

“The action would build upon existing protections, which generally prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Since coming into office, Obama helped end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibited gays from serving openly in the military and, after what he described as an evolution in his thinking, gave backing to gay marriage during his 2012 re-election campaign.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Susan Heavey)

Latest Stories

12 hours ago in Entertainment

‘Oregon Trail,’ ‘Sonic’ join World Video Game Hall of Fame

videogamehall2016AP

Last year, "Super Mario Bros." and "Pong" were among the first inductees to the World Video Game Hall of Fame. The class of 2016 is just as strong.

15 hours ago in National, World

Mayors from big cities around globe push climate initiatives

parisclimate276422967025

The mayors of major cities from around the world are banding together to fight global warming by investing in public transportation and electric cars, planting trees and switching to solar energy.

15 hours ago in Entertainment

Seth MacFarlane returning to Fox with new sci-fi series

sethmacfarlane536713938826

The "Family Guy" star is producing a new series set 300 years in the future.