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Details on the Historic Executive Order Barring LGBT Discrimination to be Signed by President Obama This Morning

Here are details from the White House on the executive order President Obama will be signing this morning barring LGBT discrimination by federal contractors:

2_obamaExecutive Order 11246, issued by President Lyndon B. Johnson, prohibits federal contractors from discriminating “against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” President Obama’s Executive Order will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories.

President Obama’s Executive Order does not allow for any exemption beyond the one added by Executive Order 13279, issued by President George W. Bush, which permits religiously affiliated contractors to favor individuals of a particular religion when making employment decisions, by specifying that Executive Order 11246, “shall not apply to a Government contractor or subcontractor that is a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society, with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, association, educational institution, or society of its activities. Such contractors and subcontractors are not exempted or excused from complying with the other requirements contained in this Order.” In addition, under the First Amendment, religious entities are permitted to make employment decisions about their ministers as they see fit.

Executive Order 11246 governs only federal contractors and federally-assisted construction contractors and subcontractors who do over $10,000 in Government business in one year. It does not affect grants and President Obama’s Executive Order does not impact the administration of federal grants. The Order is administered and enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). As part of these duties, OFCCP conducts compliance reviews, receives complaints from individuals who believe they have been discriminated against, and provides technical assistance to contractors regarding their contractual obligations. More information can be found at www.dol.gov/ofccp.

Executive Order 11478, issued by President Nixon, bars discrimination against federal employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and age, and was amended by Executive Order 13087, issued by President Clinton, to include sexual orientation.

President Obama’s Executive Order will add gender identity to the list of protected categories. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other federal agencies already apply Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect federal employees from discrimination on the basis of gender identity as a form of sex discrimination. The President believes it is important to explicitly prohibit – in both Executive Action and in legislation – discrimination on the basis of gender identity.


Joe Biden Suggests His Obama Legacy Will Be Gay Marriage

Joe Biden, everyone’s favorite no-nonsense vice president, believes that his coming out in support of same-sex marriage will be a lasting legacy from his time in the Obama administration. Biden made headlines in May of 2012 after voicing his unequivocal support for gay marriage ahead of president Barack Obama during an interview on Meet the Press.

Biden_2013Biden’s statements are thought to have forced the President’s hand in making his own support for LGBT rights more concrete just days after Biden’s interview. Biden, to his credit, says that he didn’t intend to preempt the President , but rather wanted to be clear in his position.

"To set the record straight ... my comments on 'Meet the Press' were not planned,” Biden explained at the Make Process National Summit. “[B]ut what was planned and understood was when I get asked a direct question, I give a direct answer."

Biden went on to explain that he felt as if  the outpouring of support that he received following the interview was really more deserved to members of the LGBT community.

“I didn't free the LGBT community, what you all did, what they did was free every straight woman and straight man in this country.”

Relive Biden's career defining Meet the Press moment AFTER THE JUMP...

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President Obama to Sign LGBT Anti-Discrimination Executive Order on Monday

President Obama plans to sign the promised executive order barring anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors on Monday, the Washington Blade reports:

2_obamaIn a conference call with reporters on Friday, senior administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Obama plans to amend existing executive orders barring discrimination against workers to include protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Obama intends to amend Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, to add the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Additionally, Obama plans to amend Executive Order 11478, which prohibits discrimination in the federal civilian workplace — and was already amended by President Clinton to include sexual orientation — to include gender identity.

But the amendments also won’t repeal President George W. Bush’s amendment to EO 11246, which allows religious-affiliated federal contractors to discriminate on the basis of religion, officials said.

The order is expected to take effect early next year.

The Huffington Post adds:

To the relief of the LGBT community, there is no sweeping religious exemption in the executive order. Obama is simply adding the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity to an existing executive order that protects employees of federal contractors from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. President George W. Bush amended that executive order in 2002 to allow religiously affiliated federal contractors to prioritize hiring employees of their particular religion, however, and Obama is keeping that language intact.

Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, released a statement reacting to the announcement:

"This decision is good for LGBT people, good for our economy and good for America. It also speaks volumes about President Obama’s resolve to end discrimination in all its guises. Millions more LGBT workers and their families will have the employment protections and economic security they need and deserve. Many organizations have worked extremely hard for this day and they all deserve thanks for this successful effort. We appreciate President Obama treating LGBT people equally with other protected groups. Thank you Mr. President for once again showing leadership and standing firm on your commitment to LGBT people and their families."


69 Religious And Civil Rights Groups Ask Obama To Exclude Religious Exemptions From Executive Order Banning LGBT Discrimination

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Sixty-nine religious and civil rights organizations have signed a letter asking President Barack Obama not to exempt “religiously affiliated contractors” from a planned executive order protecting LGBT employees of federal contractors.

Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, American faith leaders and 140 religious leaders have asked Obama for “a robust religious exemption” stating “it would be wrong to require [religiously affiliated federal contractors] to violate those legally protected convictions in order to be eligible to receive federal contracts.”

The aforementioned letter against religious exemptions — signed by the American Civil Liberties Union, GetEQUAL, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), PFLAG, the National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force — reads in part:

“Religious freedom is one of our most cherished values, a fundamental and defining feature of our national character. It guarantees us the freedom to hold any belief we choose and the right to act on our religious beliefs within certain limits. It does not, however, provide organizations the right to discriminate using taxpayer dollars. When a religiously affiliated organization makes the decision to request a taxpayer-funded contract with the federal government, it must play by the same rules as every other federal contractor

Indeed, taxpayer-funded discrimination, in any guise, is antithetical to basic American values. Polls consistently show that Americans overwhelmingly understand and agree that when tax dollars are in play, discrimination is wrong. If an organization requests and receives government funding, it should not be allowed to discriminate against qualified job applicants based on who they are or what their religious beliefs may be. Yet, exempting religiously affiliated organizations that contract with the federal government from prohibitions on discrimination by federal contractors would do just that.”

Chris Geidner from Buzzfeed Politics adds that the letter also asks Obama “to reverse a Bush order that expanded the religious exemption under the existing federal contractor order… [which] permits religiously affiliated organizations that receive government contracts to discriminate in hiring based on religion.

Such religious exemptions are what compelled the National Gay and Lesbian Task forced to drop its support for the current Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Read the full letter AFTER THE JUMP…

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President Obama Fist Bumps Gay Comedian in Texas

By night, Daniel Rugg Webb is an aspiring comedian based out of Austin, Texas. By day, he’s a cashier at Franklin Barbecue: the same Franklin Barbecue President Obama dropped by last Thursday as a part of his brief tour through Texas.

"If Rick Perry would've walked in, I would have lost my job. Webb told the Austin Chronicle. “I would've taken that old queen to town."

Fist_obamaInstead, Webb met face to face with the President, and, ever the performer, still managed to find a choice set of words, as he recounted to Buzzfeed:

“Equal rights for gay people!” he exclaimed.

Obama reacted without missing a beat. “Are you gay?”

Taken aback by the directness of the question, he said, Webb responded, “Only when I’m having sex!”

The president laughed, then, realizing there was a group of children near the two, said, “Not in front of the kids!”

Webb, more than mere taking the opportunity to banter with the Commander-in-Chief, saw the exchange as a chance to take a pointed stand against current governor Rick Perry.

“We are an anti-gay state. We are a state with a whole bunch of hungry children and sick old people, and [Rick Perry is] grandstanding on things that will get him a better election,” Webb explained. “I would like to see Rick Perry negatively influenced by any kind of attention. Even Obama laughing at something as, hopefully, acceptable as sexuality can show the difference.”

Watch a clip of Webb’s standup at the Austin Encyclopedia Show AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Teacher Files Sex Discrimination Lawsuit Against Georgia Catholic School

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Flint Dollar, a music teacher at Mount de Sales Academy in Macon, Georgia, has filed a suit against the school after his contract was not renewed when the school found out he plans to marry a man.

DollarSpeaking to NPR, Dollar said that he was honest about his sexual orientation with administrators at the Catholic school.  However, at the end of the school year he was told that “the bishop of the Diocese of Savannah called and expressed his concern that if I was to return it would be against the teachings of the Catholic Church."

The school has released a statement saying they have to consider an employee's ability to teach Catholic doctrine when making staff decisions.

Dollar’s lawyer Charles Cox says that although there is nothing to be done under employment discrimination legislation, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

According to Cox:

“When you fire somebody because they are engaging in a same-sex marriage, I think that pretty clearly fits with gender discrimination. You're being fired because you're not complying with traditional gender stereotypes, and that's wrong, and we believe it's unlawful."

Although Dollar has since filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging sex discrimination, Matthew Franck, a constitutional scholar at Princeton says that even though it might work, it shouldn’t because “it's fairly clear that Title VII's reference to sex as a category of discrimination, that the people who wrote that had nothing like sexual orientation in their minds.”


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