Obama on LGBT issues: "We still have more work to do"
Monday, June 30, 2014 - 01:44
As U.S. President Barack Obama celebrates LGBT Pride Month at White House he celebrates progress but says there is ''more work to do.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: As U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host an LGBT Pride Month reception at the White House, the President outlined progress for the community while saying there is "more work to do."
Obama said if Congress does not act, he will sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, 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 (LGBT) 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 other domestic priorities where Congress has failed to make legislative headway, and activists have pressed him to do the same on gay rights.
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.
Pursuing the executive order is a shift for the White House, which has said since last year that such a move would carry far less weight than broader congressional action. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate but has languished in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
An order barring discrimination by federal contractors would apply to about 20 percent of the U.S. workforce. It 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.
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