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Obama Will Not Sign Executive Order Banning LGBT Workplace Discrimination in Near Future

President Obama will not sign an executive order barring workplace discrimination against LGBT people in the immediate future, according to reports emerging after a high-level meeting at the White House this afternoon. Among those attending were Winnie Stachelberg, of Center for American Progress, Rea Carey, of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Tico Almeida, of Freedom to Work, Joe Solmonese and David Smith, of the Human Rights Campaign, and gay Democratic lobbyists Steve Elmendorf and Robert Raben, MetroWeekly's Chris Geidner reports.

ObamaThose attending the meeting have been pushing for months for such an order from Obama.

HRC's Solmonese released a statement:

Earlier today, we were told that the Administration is not ready to move forward with a federal contractor nondiscrimination executive order at this time.  We are extremely disappointed with this decision and will continue to advocate for an executive order from the president. The unfortunate truth is that hard-working Americans can be fired simply for being gay or transgender. Given the number of employees that would be covered by this executive order, it represents a critical step forward.
Ten years of HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, as well as the research of our partner organizations to include the Center for American Progress and the Williams Institute, demonstrate that there is ample rationale for this kind of order. No similar executive order has ever had this kind of extensive research or factual basis established. While we believe that further study is unnecessary, we will continue to engage with the Administration to ensure that the case is made even stronger for workplace protections.

The White House said it had alternative plans, though the details were not disclosed:

Of the White House effort, Stachelberg says, "The White House will instead launch a multipronged effort to better address workplace discrimination against gay and transgender Americans. However, just as Congress should pass ENDA now, the President should now use his executive authority to extend existing nondiscrimination requirements of federal contractors to include sexual orientation and gender identity."

The proposed expansion of the federal contractor nondiscrimination executive order to include sexual orientation and gender identity had reportedly been approved by the Labor Department but according to Geidner, the White House is unwilling to take that step before the election.

Said White House spokesman Shin Inouye in a statement: "The President is dedicated to securing equal rights for LGBT Americans and that is why he has long supported an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit employers across the country from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The President is committed to lasting and comprehensive change and therefore our goal is passage of ENDA, which is a legislative solution to LGBT employment discrimination -- just as the President pressed for legislative repeal of DADT."

StachelbergStachelberg issued a statement expressing disappointment in the White House decision:

Today’s news that the White House will launch a multipronged effort to address workplace discrimination against gay and transgender Americans, rather than immediately issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to have sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination polices, is disappointing.

These types of policies are supported by nearly 75 percent of Americans, many of the nation's largest and most prominent Fortune 500 corporations, and nearly two-thirds of all small business owners, based on findings from a 2011 Center for American Progress survey. It has been shown time and time again through research conducted by this organization and others like the American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Williams Institute, that gay and transgender people face disproportionately high rates of discrimination in the workplace and that policies that protect employees are also good for business and the economy at large.

Just as Congress should pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act now, the president should now also use his executive authority to extend existing nondiscrimination requirements of federal contractors to cover workers who are gay and transgender.

NOTE: MetroWeekly reported earlier that the White House would not sign an order before election day. They've updated their story and no time frame was named.

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  1. He won't stand up to the Republicans and his version of a compromise is giving in to the opposition. Now he's giving teavangelicals a reach around while ignoring a large number of voters who got him where is is in the first place because he knows the LGBT community has no where else to take their votes. Sorry folks but Obama just isn't into us as much as he's into being President.

    Posted by: terry | Apr 11, 2012 9:31:45 PM

  2. "Concentrate on holding the White House, increasing the number of dems in the Senate and regaining the House."

    ENDA did not pass when there were overwhelming Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress before

    What some of you just don't understand is that when either political party believes that a group like gays has no other option but to remain loyal to it, then they take that group for granted and ignore their issues, confident that they can do so without suffering any consequences....which is exactly what the Democratic Party has done and continues to do.

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 11, 2012 9:34:30 PM

  3. Rick obviously had a few too many Brandy Alexanders with dinner.

    DADT happened because a Democrat was in office. If a Republican is in office no progress on gay rights will be made, and, most importantly the Supreme Court will tilt even more activist conservative with several marriage cases potentially working their way towards judges who have the future of gay civil rights in their hands. It doesn't surprise me that Obama isn't planing to sign executive orders heading into an election, and it doesn't send me over to the Romney camp or, ridiculously, to the Greens, who are powerless in the US. Legislative gay rights progress, particularly in the states, but also federally, will only happen when Dem's are in the majority. And Obama will have no choice, as a mainstream Democrat, but to support non-discrimation and marriage equality when he's reelected. To do otherwise would put a historical stain on his legacy. Romney, on the other hand, is bound by his Mormonism and Republicanism to remain anti-gay for the rest of his fading political career.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 11, 2012 9:36:32 PM

  4. I don't know why there are so many shortsighted people. I would rather wait till the election finishes. I do agree that signing the ENDA " on this time" is not a wise step to win the election, unfortunately.

    Posted by: Neal | Apr 11, 2012 9:36:45 PM

  5. Disappointed by the Democrats? Then why don't you go to the GOP and get them to sign some decree in favor of gay rights? Maybe even put it in their party platform? Why stop there -- have Romney declare himself in favor of gay marriage, gay work place rights and gay equality.

    Posted by: good luck with that | Apr 11, 2012 9:37:37 PM

  6. Ernie, go easy on Rick, he has some serious mental problems. If anyone knows him they should do an intervention. SERIOUSLY.

    Posted by: jack | Apr 11, 2012 9:50:42 PM

  7. the executive order will simply be overturned by the next republican candidate. if he signed it, the issue will be forgotten, better we put pressure on the congress, just like DADT.

    Posted by: johnosahon | Apr 11, 2012 9:51:31 PM

  8. First lets get him re-elected. Then get CONGRESS to pass legislations making it illegal. If Obama makes a proclamation, it's only good while he's president. When the Republicans win again, and eventually they will, it will be recinded. So do it as an Act of Congress, not proclamation.

    Posted by: Macmantoo | Apr 11, 2012 9:54:19 PM

  9. Your right Rick, I hope that's the real Rick lol
    If the other posts are really you, you'd be One sick bastard

    Dems couldn't get it through with both houses but we didn't get much help from the right. It's never going to pass with out both sides. I bet more republicans sign on after the election because they to play politics too.

    No ENDA order just like a DADT order would have been a bad idea as well

    Posted by: GeorgeM | Apr 11, 2012 9:54:50 PM

  10. Although Obama is far preferable on LGBT issues, a Romney victory probably wouldn't be a total loss for the gay community. Romney was friendly toward the gay community when Governor of Massachusets (from what I've heard) and he is not in his heart of hearts a social conservative. His political traditionalism is more pragmatic than anything else. If a more moderate group emerges in the Republican party, there's at least a chance that a President Romney might go more socially liberal, especially if he thinks the political demographics are moving in this direction. Also, taking office at age 65 there's a chance he could easily be a one term president due to health issues. This would give him more flexibility to go with his heart on social issues.

    It could happen. There's a reason that the social conservatives don't trust Romney.

    Posted by: Mary | Apr 11, 2012 10:00:10 PM

  11. "It could happen."

    So could Justice Santorum...

    Posted by: BobN | Apr 11, 2012 10:12:27 PM

  12. You're living in a fantasy world "Mary."

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 11, 2012 10:12:46 PM

  13. As a gay man... I'm not willing to chance it Mary. You have a right to think that I just think you're way off base

    I'll stick with the president

    Posted by: GeorgeM | Apr 11, 2012 10:18:15 PM

  14. Your so called gay friendly Mitty is endorsed by NOM today.

    Posted by: Neal | Apr 11, 2012 10:22:21 PM

  15. @MARY: If Romney is not now a social conservative, he is one champion LIAR. He has been traveling around this country for over a year telling us he is a social conservative.

    Posted by: jack | Apr 11, 2012 10:39:22 PM

  16. Mary, Romney can't be moderate on social issues whatever his secret personal views. He's a Mormon Republican who has dug himself into a rightwing hole from which there is no escape. His SC choices would be disastrous for gay people and for women who aren't anti-choice. Fortunately, he satisfies no one so we'll probably be spared a Romney presidency, but make no mistake whose pocket he's in, and it ain't a moderate's.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 11, 2012 11:20:07 PM

  17. (1) What material electoral advantage does the White House gain by punting on this? I'm not talking about conjectural advantage. I'm not asking about trivial or even small advantage. I'm asking about material advantage in the general election. I don't see what the White House gets by punting except resentment and frustration among gay voters and their allies. Lord knows the tea partiers and fundies won't ever vote for him, and "undecided" voters have been shown to be a fractured group whose tribal allegiances are greatly varied. Is it all a flash back to the Rovian "gay marriage" campaign tactic that conservadems still believe was the deciding ruse in Dubya's re-election?

    (2) On the other hand, I have to ask: how many LGBT workers would (a) enjoy new protections that they don't already enjoy under state or local law and (b) actually need to exercise their rights under the executive order? Maybe the White House's rationale is that, as a practical matter, the proposed order would benefit relatively few people. If that's the case then I can see why the issue doesn't seem so urgent.

    (3) I'm still voting for Obama, but I deeply resent having my vote extorted by the White House.

    (4) I eagerly await to see how our great gay elites respond to having their requests rejected.

    Posted by: Tony N SF | Apr 12, 2012 1:02:57 AM

  18. Oh, and one other thing: Obama ended DADT, so he's gonna get painted as a pro-gay by the Republicans anyway, so why not sign the executive order? Is it because some federal contractors are "religious" and they will object that treating gays fairly is against their religion? Wow, that's a fight I would think Obama would love to take on.

    Posted by: Tony N SF | Apr 12, 2012 1:11:26 AM

  19. But, but, but...he's "evolving". Yeah, just enough to tease more money out of the GAY ATM for another four-years or more.

    It's really the fault of the G/L Left for failing to give "enough" money to the DNC, ....right. Just another bait-n-switch by the Obama White House and the DNC.

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Apr 12, 2012 1:28:11 AM

  20. Re: voting Green = voting Republican.

    I live in California. I’ve voted Green for president in every election since ’96, after Clinton signed DOMA into law.

    OMGZORZ! I handed CA to the Republicans!

    Um… except CA went to the Democrats in every one of those elections. What I actually did was demonstrate that there’s a portion of the electorate unwilling to accept the ‘new liberal’ (i.e. old conservative) centrism of the Democrats.

    Furthermore, the accusation of ‘shortsightedness’ leveled at those unwilling to vote for someone in whom they don’t believe (because – oh no! that might lose a single election!) not only misses the entire point of living in a democracy, it rises to near Orwellian levels of irony.

    Posted by: toddinsf | Apr 12, 2012 1:58:22 AM

  21. Please tell me why any gay person would want to make the job of re-electing Obama to the Office of the President of the United States any more difficult than it already is going to be. What we should be worried about is making sure that democrats are elected to the House of Representatives, and to the Senate of the United States. We should be working to defeat as many Tea Party members and prominent Republicans. By increasing control i9n the Senate, we can insure that President Obama has the majority that can have a serious effect on the judicial system by getting federal judges in place and by his appointments to the Supreme Court of the United States. Executive orders are nice to have but they can be thrown out by the next Republican occupant of the White House. Securing the Senate and the House insures legislation such as ENDA passing and it takes legislative repeal to do away with by the next Republican administration. It takes more than a penstroke to repeal legislation. Leave the man alone about marriage equality which only riles up evangelical voters. You know how he is going to evolve to a position of acceptance once he has argued about jobs, and infrastructure, and jobs, and abortion rights, and contraception, and jobs. We need to get him to the prize once again so that he doesn't have to worry about what they are going to try to do to him in the next election. Taking your ball and going to the house or voting for the Green Party is a vote for the Republicans. The GOP shouts with glee each time a gay person wants to split the vote and cast a wasted ballot for a third party. Stick to the course, pass the pennies forward and cast your ballot for the candidate that has not told you that he is going to propose a constitutional amendment to stop gay citizens from ever being allowed to be married in this nation. Play this smart and stop trying to shove your agenda to the forefront and causing the rabid right to crawl hand over fist to the polls to stop those queers from getting married. We went through this once. Did we not learn anything from the experience? The more that Carl Rove can get the evangelical base stirred up about gay marriage, and the more lies Maggie and Brian can spin with their AFA buddies, the more votes they will slice off of Barack Obama's totals. Let's win the election and then make some more significant changes. We need the House, the Senate, and the Presidency to effect changes that will have consequences for the next 50 years because Roberts will be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for at least 40 to 45 more years.

    Posted by: vanndean | Apr 12, 2012 4:07:08 AM

  22. Obama will have no choice, as a mainstream Democrat, but to support non-discrimation and marriage equality when he's reelected. To do otherwise would put a historical stain on his legacy. Romney, on the other hand, is bound by his Mormonism and Republicanism to remain anti-gay for the rest of his fading political career.

    Posted by: Davidjames | Apr 12, 2012 4:58:09 AM

  23. Not unexpected from Obama, the bigot who not only pigheadedly opposes marriage equality but sabotaged it in California in 2008. 'Gawd's in the mix."

    Obama is the bigot who refused to push for the passage of ENDA or the repeal of Democrat Bill Clintons DOMA. Obama and Romney and the Democrats and Republicans all represent the politics of bigotry.

    On Tuesday November 6th vote left, write in gay-antiwar hero Brad Manning or just sit it out. Instead of obsessing about participating in the non-existent US 'democracy' build the union movement and the Occupy movements.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Apr 12, 2012 5:55:24 AM

  24. President Obama, taking the Pledge....10/22/2010

    "You need to know things will get better.

    With time you'll see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength.

    You'll look back on the struggles you face with compassion and wisdom.

    That's not just going to serve you but it'll help you get involved and make this country a better place.

    It'll mean you'll be more likely to help fight discrimination.

    Not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all it's forms."


    Posted by: mark | Apr 12, 2012 8:04:17 AM

  25. It ain't getting better! But it's better then a Republican in the White House. Remember the next President will be picking several Supreme Court Justices... so let's not rock the boat before the election.

    Posted by: Jerry Pritikin | Apr 12, 2012 8:13:11 AM

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