Will Obama Include Job Non-Discrimination In Second Term?

ENDA1It looked earlier this year as if President Obama would go ahead and sign an executive order prohibiting LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. Then he didn’t.

Now that he’s won a second term, though, groups like Human Rights Campaign plan to pressure the commander-in-chief to make good on that order and, they hope, to finally make serious progress on an issue that has lingered in Washington for decade: Employment Non-Discrimination.

From The Hill:

[HRC and others] argue that if Obama
signs the order it could encourage Capitol Hill to pass broader
legislation that would extend a similar ban to employers.

Allison Herwitt, legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign,
said gay rights supporters want to see movement from the president soon.

The push is to have them do it sooner instead of later,” Herwitt said.
“I do think it helps pave the way for a fully inclusive [Employment
Non-Discrimination Act]. … It is the way that the government puts its
imprimatur on what’s important and makes a difference in people’s
lives. The president would be saying it’s important not to

A poll from last year showed that about 73% of Americans support prohibiting LGBT discrimination in the work place. About 90% of people believe such protections already exist, so education is a good place to start.


  1. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    Since Pres. Obama is safely back at the White House for the next four years, he has liitle incentive to even consider signing an executive order for ENDA for at-least another 18-months…for when the DNC needs to shake the G/L money-tree for Gay ATM-cash for the 2014 Democratic primaries and the Nov-2014 Congressional elections.

    Why buy the cow, when you’ve already milked-it for practically-nothing?

  2. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    I much prefer the way the Republican party shakes its own tree. You know, the bigoted one.

    It gets the racists and homophobes, like my mother and father, give them money and I give them money and support to. That way, when my parents see that I’m voting Republican, they treat me with a little bit less revulsion than usual. They’re still ashamed of me, but as long as I tell them that I’m not like those pathetic liberal gays they afford me a decent amount of tolerance.

    Last week, for example, they even shook my hand!

  3. Artie_in_Lauderdale says

    @ Ted B. (Charging Rhino), and also, your evil twin,

    You pose an interesting question. My guess is that Obama will sign an executive order by the time he gives his State of the Union address in late January. That is when he has to lay his cards on the table and let Congress know, by example, whether he supports a non-discrimination order. Why would Obama want GetEQUAL pounding on the White House door? It would be bad publicity on an issue that has broad support with the American public.

    I appreciate the comments from both you and your evil twin, who apparently disagrees with you. We’ll see soon enough what cards Obama lays on the table in January.

  4. Mary says

    I don’t see why Obama wouldn’t do all he could for the gay community. He doesn’t have to worry about re-election, and the community gave him a lot of support. Since gay rights still has a way to go before it is 100% non-controversial and acceptable to the public, politicians will always be more cautious about taking any firm stand on gay rights issues when any election is close. Ideally, Obama would want to get much pro-gay legislation passed before the 2014 mid-term elections become our focus. This approach worked with gays in the miliary because once pro-gay legislation passes it is very hard to reverse it. The next year and a half will be a favorable climate for pro-gay causes to prevail in.

  5. Brad says

    I agree with Ted B. He’s thrown the LGBT community under the bus before. He only repealed DADT when members of congress spearheaded the issue and people like Dan Choi pressured him to take action at the last possible moment. But he sure was happy to take the credit for it. Obama is better than Romney when it comes to LGBT issues, but I still don’t trust him to do the right thing every time. He’s gotten all the big money and support and just like last time he may feel free to walk away from us again.

  6. Steven H says

    @brad: And why would we expect the President to support our issues? Evidently we’re b*tchy if he does, and b*tchy if he doesn’t.

    The only community that’s as ornery and hard to please as our own is DC itself, which is why I’m surprised as much work has been done as it has.

    Despite DC intransigence, DADT is gone, not just because of the Congress, but also because the President’s Secretary of Defense, and most of his Service Chiefs, wanted it gone; same-sex marriage is a fact of life in Maryland, in no small part because the President spoke up when he did; the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Act is the law of the land; DOMA will not be defended, and will soon fall; dozens of federal agencies have adopted lasting, gay-friendly policies, partly because the head of OPM is John Berry; and despite whatever some of us may say, and despite the fact that some among us were more than willing to throw the President under the bus as well, we are still safe and sound, far from any buses to be thrown under.

    I say, thank you Mr. President, we look forward to another four years of hard-won victories.

  7. Icebloo says

    I’m overjoyed Obama won re-election but I don’t see him do anything at all for gay people now.

    He doesn’t really support us like he says he does. He was WAY behind in terms of money for his re-election campaign. He was being outspent 8 to 1 in the swing states & some gay groups told him they were going to withhold funding because he didn’t support gay marriage. Overnight he changed his opinion and suddenly said he supported gay marriage. He was given $40 million over the next two days from various gay groups. This money helped him a lot.

    He now says he will not force gay marriage on states. If he truly supported us he WOULD force gay marriage on states. Can you imagine him not forcing racial equality on the states if that was in question ?

    He doesn’t really support us but he has done good things for us so we just have to accept it and hope others in the party like the incredible (and very pro gay) Nancy Pelosi lead the way for us again like she did with the destruction of DADT.

  8. Artie_in_Lauderdale says

    I’ll have to agree with Mary. Obama doesn’t have to worry about reelection, so I don’t see any reason why he would be obsessed with squeezing money out of donors for the Democratic Party. Second-term are more concerned with the legacy that they leave than fundraising for their political party. I’m sure Obama would rather leave a legacy that will be remembered well than have GetEQUAL protesting during his second term. My guess is that he makes his intention about an executive order known by the State of the Union address in January, and that he lobbies with Congress to include same-sex binational couples in immigration reform.

  9. jason says

    If Obama shows the same lack of enthusiasm for non-discrimination as he did for DADT repeal, we’ll be waiting forever. The only enthusiasm he has ever shown for gay rights is a few months before an election.

    Note, for instance, how Obama promised to be a “fierce” advocate for gay rights in the few months before the 2008 election. Then, in the few months before this year’s election, he told us he had “evolved” on gay marriage. Both statements were carefully timed for fund-raising purposes.

    In any case, if he doesn’t deliver, he’ll be portrayed as a fraud, and rightly so. Those who supported him and fawned over his so-called gay advocacy will also deserve to be called frauds. I will personally name and shame these people.

  10. Charles in DC says

    For any of you in the DC area, GetEQUAL will be meeting this week to plan our post-election strategy. The meeting is open to the whole LGBT community (and to allies as well). The federal contractors executive order is definitely on our radar right now.

    The details are here: http://www.facebook.com/events/501783553180083/

    Please come if you’re interested in fighting for full federal equality.

    If you’re interested in joining the fight, but don’t live in DC. Email me at getequal.wdc on gmail, and I’ll point you in the right direction.

  11. Artie_in_Lauderdale says

    @ Charles in DC,

    I don’t share Jason’s certainty that Obama will ignore the ENDA executive order. I’m glad that the DC chapter of GetEQUAL is always there as a “nuclear option,” but I’m sure the folks in GetEQUAL are willing to hear what Obama has to say in his State of the Union address, wouldn’t you say so? After all, the 2010 State of the Union address is when he publicly stated his intention to work with Congress to repeal DADT.

  12. Charles in DC says


    Of course we’ll listen to the State of the Union. But waiting until after to do something is a little too reactive for my tastes. There will always be something we could say we’re waiting for — the State of the Union, the fiscal cliff deadline, midterm elections, getting the next sympathetic Democrat into the White House, etc. I’d rather be proactive.

    Also, just because we’re meeting doesn’t mean that in the following week we’ll be chained to some national monument. There are a wide array of strategies and tactics to use. That’s why we’re calling a meeting. We want to decide what is appropriate to get the protections the community needs.

  13. says

    Amen to the actual LGBT folks who get off their @sses and DO SOMETHING rather than log onto a website to anonymously complain about…what everyone else is or isn’t doing.

    you want change? COME OUT, finally, and start being proactive.

    Charles, ROCK ON, brother.

  14. GregV says

    The slogan is not entirely accurate or helpful to public understanding of ENDA. Straight can and do get fired for being straight (though very rarely) and would have exactly as much protection from ENDA as anyone else if and when that ever happens.
    EVERYONE in society has a sexual oirientation, a gender-identity category, a sex, the potential to be perceived as being of a particular race or national background category, etc., and ALL people receive the SAME protection.
    When the media talks about non-discrimination laws as if they protect “gay people” or “women” or “Jewish people” or “black people” (etc.), that just reinforces the FALSE notion that certain groups (especially minorities) are getting SPECIAL perks.
    I’ve heard even liberal would-be supporters say that they don’t support non-discrimiation laws, and when they explain why, it’s clear that they’ve mistakenly gotten the idea that non-discrimination laws mean that employers must always hire someone black over someone white, female over male, Jewish over Christian, etc. it can be hard to undo years of misinformation on the issue when the media reinforces that perception by failing to use accurate words that reflect how fair and impartial the laws are actually worded.

  15. Artie_in_Lauderdale says

    @ Charles in DC,

    Your plan sounds reasonable. Something as ridiculous as “waiting for the midterms” before acting is just another way of deferring equality. My only point was that Washington usually takes a breather during the holidays, and the political players in DC actually get serious and lay their cards on the table in January, which, after all, is only two months away. I’ll second LittleKiwi’s endorsement: I’m glad we have GetEQUAL.

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