Politics

LGBT Members Of Congress Push President Obama On Workplace Protections

Representatives Maloney, Polis, Takano and Pocan offer their thoughts on ENDA, President Obama and the executive order LGBT advocates are hoping he’ll sign.

Evan Vucci, File / AP

WASHINGTON — As President Obama is due to greet an audience of LGBT advocates and supporters at the White House Thursday afternoon, out LGBT members of Congress are pressing him to act on an executive order to bar federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees.

Here’s what four of the six out House members had to say:

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney: “The President is right that Congress should do its job here, but since Speaker Boehner is unwilling to take on his Tea Party caucus and call a vote on basic workplace protections for hardworking Americans, then it is understandable that our community looks to the President for leadership. President Obama had it right when he said “we can’t wait.’”

Rep. Jared Polis: “There’s currently no explicit federal law that protects LGBT Americans in the workplace and it’s perfectly legal to be fired just because of who you are or who you love in more than half the country. We should be doing everything we can to prevent this type of discrimination. I’ve called on the president to issue an Executive Order to protect LGBT employees of federal contractors while we work to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in Congress.”

Rep. Mark Takano: “President Obama has moved the conversation on LGBT rights forward at an unbelievable rate, and has proved himself to be an unshakable ally to the movement, but because of the failures of Speaker Boehner and House Majority Leader Cantor, Congress has not taken action on employment discrimination. As a result, I strongly encourage the President to take action and issue an Executive Order to protect LGBT Americans who work for Federal agencies or contractors. This way, thousands of Americans who live in states without nondiscrimination protections can finally be treated equally in the workplace.”

Rep. Mark Pocan: “It is unconscionable that under today’s laws, too many people go to work fearful they may be fired or discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Our federal government has a responsibility to set the standard on the issues of equality and justice. That is why I joined with more than 100 of my colleagues and urged the President to sign an executive order that protects LGBT employees of federal contractors, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass the bipartisan, comprehensive Employment Non-Discrimination Act.”

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