Via Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade:
President Obama is set on Monday to take executive action to prohibit discrimination against LGBT employees working for federal contractors and the federal government, the Washington Blade has learned. In 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 White House believes the executive actions protect LGBT workers and the interests of religious-affiliated employers, officials said.
More from the Huffington Post:
The president vowed during his 2008 campaign to take action on discrimination among federal contractors, and LGBT rights groups have been urging him to do so ever since, to no avail. The White House has focused instead on pressuring Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would have much broader implications. But that bill has stalled, and in the meantime, pressure has grown on the president to act in ways that don’t require legislative approval.
The piece of the executive order targeting federal employees, meanwhile, responds to what some have described as a shortcoming in existing governmental rules. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in 2012 that the federal ban on sex discrimination covers transgender discrimination, but those affected by that rule change say the government hasn’t been enforcing it and that they continue to be discriminated against. Once Obama signs the executive order, the provision affecting federal employees takes effect immediately, per the official. The provision affecting federal contractors will take effect early next year.