Obama says to bar LGBT discrimination by federal contractors

NEW YORK Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:04pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) gala in New York June 17,  2014.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) gala in New York June 17, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he will sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation, but told gay rights activists they need to keep up the pressure on Congress to pass a broader law.

Drawing a lengthy standing ovation from a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) gala raising money for the Democratic National Committee, Obama said the order was the right thing to do for human rights and the economy.

"We don't benefit as a country or an economy - businesses don't benefit - if they're leaving talent off the field," Obama said.

The White House confirmed on Monday that Obama would sign the order, which would make it illegal for companies with U.S. government contracts to fire or avoid hiring employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity, just as it now is with race.

The order would apply to about 20 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.

Obama said he had hoped Congress would pass broader legislation banning employment discrimination against LGBT people, but noted the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has not taken up a bill passed in November by the Senate.

About 550 people attended the gala, with tickets ranging from $1,200 to $32,400.

It was one of three Democratic fundraising events in New York City for Obama on Tuesday. Obama later attended a dinner at the home of Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue magazine, with about 30 guests contributing up to $32,400, a DNC official said.

Earlier, he participated in an event at the Intercontinental Hotel in Times Square for Senate Majority PAC. A spokesman for the group did not respond to a request for information about the event.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

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Comments (8)
astroz wrote:
Does this mean that the Christian organizations that do business with the Federal Government must hire and promote individuals that reject Christian teachings? Chilling.

Jun 18, 2014 9:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
BeRealistic wrote:
I am still trying to wrap my head around what being “gay” has to do with human rights. It is a behavior, a lifestyle choice, not a human condition requiring any kind of rights recognition. There is currently no right that I enjoy, that a member of the “LGBT” culture does not have or is not able to enjoy. Anything more is exceptional and special privilege and therefore infringes on and minimizes my rights.

Jun 18, 2014 9:43am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bighammerman wrote:
This is another ploy to distract from scandalous issues and failures. It will not work anymore. Obama is done and should resign before he does more damage to our country or Congress should remove him from office.

Jun 18, 2014 10:02am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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