(San Francisco, CA, June 16, 2014)—Today, President Obama directed White House staff to begin drafting an Executive Order that would require all recipients of federal contracts to have policies that prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Federal contractors employ more than 20 percent of the U.S. workforce, and this historic move will extend crucial protections to millions of employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Executive Order will represent a major victory in the fight for LGBTQ employees across the country, who remain vulnerable to being harassed, discriminated against, and even fired simply for being who they are. Right now, there is no federal law that explicitly protects LGBTQ individuals from employment discrimination. There are no state laws that expressly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in 29 states, and no state laws that expressly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in 32 states.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.:

“We are elated at the news that the President has directed his staff to begin drafting a Presidential Executive Order to protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination by employers who work with the federal government. In 32 states LGBTQ people still have no protections against job loss and adverse actions at work based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The President’s promise to sign an Executive Order barring discrimination in employment for a large swath of employers will provide a significant number of LGBTQ workers the security of knowing they can support themselves and their families.”