From the Washington Post editorial board:
In the politically charged election year of 1996 — the same year the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed both houses of Congress with veto-proof margins — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) reached the Senate floor and was defeated by a single vote.
Reading the tea leaves then, it might have seemed that employment discrimination against gay workers would become illegal long before 17 years would pass. It was same-sex marriage that seemed unlikely. But a nation that has evolved rapidly toward supporting marriage equality continues to drag its feet on workforce fairness. The rejection of ENDA, a version of which was proposed as far back as the mid-1970s, has become something of a ritual: The act has been introduced in every Congress since 1994, save one. [snip]
Mr. Obama promised on the campaign trail in 2008 that he would sign an executive order protecting gays in the federal contractor force. His failure to do so becomes increasingly indefensible and inexplicable by the day. An executive order could generate momentum for ENDA, not to mention put in place at least some protections until the act becomes law. After helping to end discrimination in the military and publicly endorsing same-sex marriage in his first term, it’s time the president honor the promise he made five years ago.