110 House Lawmakers Call for Obama Executive Order on ENDA; All Republicans, Some Notable Dems Absent

Led by Reps. Frank Pallone (D-NJ, pictured) and Jared Polis (D-CO), 110 House lawmakers have signed a letter calling on President Obama to sign an executive order protecting LGBT workers from discrimination, the Washington Blade reports:

PalloneIn a letter dated March 20, the lawmakers called on Obama to sign a much sought-after executive order requiring federal contractors to have non-discrimination protections for their LGBT workers.

“We believe that a fully inclusive America benefits us all and that sexual orientation and gender identity should never be used to discriminate in employment practices,” the letter states. “For that reason, we request that you make signing an executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating in the workplace based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity an initial priority of your second term.”

No Republicans signed the letter. Some notable Democrats were absent. Nancy Pelosi said she supports the substance of the letter but does not sign group letters because she is House minority leader.

The absence of some other Democrats, however, was unexplained, the Blade adds:

Other members of Democratic leadership that are absent from the letter are House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), whose daughter came out as a lesbian in an interview with the Blade, as well as Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.). Their offices didn’t respond to a request for comment either.

Another absent name is Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).


  1. says

    “It’s a lot harder to remove legislatively passed bills than executive orders. How soon we forget DADT repeal.”
    –This is true. At first, I have to admit that I thought perhaps the Democrats wanted to pass legislation and not have an executive order because then the Democrats could use the Republican opposition as fuel for the next campaign…perhaps I was too quick to judge.

  2. Lymis says

    I don’t think we’re at that tipping point, though it’s close. We’ll know we’re there when we start seeing political ads that the opponent “does not support equality for all Americans” being used, and taken seriously.

    We’re still a wedge and a cause, not actual citizens, to most of these people. We’re a wedge they’re using and a cause they are supporting, and that’s serious and wonderful progress. But they still don’t campaign as though we are their fellow citizens, whatever they may believe. When that changes, it’s all over but the mopping up.

  3. GOP Staff says

    No Republican lawmakers signed because it wasn’t circulated to GOP offices for consideration. Legislation hasn’t even been reintroduced in the House of Representatives this Congress, thus proving this letter is all about headlines rather than results.

  4. Wilberforce says

    If I had had my way, ENDA would have been our top priority, then placing mature standards and stopping the spread of hiv, then helping homeless queers.
    Instead, we’re stick with that stupid push for marriage. Oh well.

  5. Rich says


    One can differ about priorities. The argument for marriage first is that inequality is mandated — at least at the Federal level. Employment discrimination is prohibited by a number of states and eschewed by a number of employers, including most of the Fortune 500. But if you need a job more than you need a mate, your mileage may vary.

  6. Wilberforce says

    The point is that everyone needs a job more than a marriage. It’s easy as toast to shack up, but not when you’re unemployed.
    But again, the self-destructive crowd got their way, as they always do. There are just too many of them, and they drown out all other speech.

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