• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 32s

Obama to sign orders protecting gay employees

By CBS/AP 3:46 PM July 18, 2014
WASHINGTON –

President Barack Obama plans to sign executive orders Monday prohibiting discrimination against gay and transgender workers in the federal government and its contracting agencies, without a new exemption that was requested by some religious organizations.

Obama’s action comes on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Hobby Lobby case that allowed some religiously oriented businesses to opt out of the federal health care law’s requirement that contraception coverage be provided to workers at no extra charge. Senior administration officials said Friday that ruling has no impact on non-discrimination policies in federal hiring and contracting.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the plans publicly.

Since Obama announced last month that he would sign the orders, he’s faced pressure from opposing flanks over the religious exemption and given no indication of where he would come down. Many religious leaders and conservative groups wanted him to exempt religious organizations from the order, while liberal clergy and gay advocacy groups adamantly opposed such an exemption.

Until last month, Obama long resisted pressure to pursue an executive order for federal contractors in hopes that Congress would take more sweeping action banning anti-LGBT workplace discrimination nationwide. A bill to accomplish that goal – the Employment Non-Discrimination Act - passed the Senate last year with some Republican support, but has not been taken up by the GOP-controlled House.

poll conducted last fall by Republican pollster Alex Lundry and the Americans for Workplace Opportunity campaign showed that more than two-thirds of registered voters, including 56 percent of Republicans, support the protections of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. In fact eight out of 10 thought that such federal workplace protections were already in place.

Senior officials said Obama’s action planned for Monday at the White House would amend two executive orders. The first, signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, prohibits federal contractors from discriminating based on race, religion, gender or nationality in hiring. Obama plans to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protections, and order the Labor Department to carry out the order. The officials said that means the change will probably take effect by early next year.

President George W. Bush had amended Johnson’s order in 2002 to allow religious groups to hire and fire based upon religious identity. Churches also are able to hire ministers as they see fit. The senior administration officials said Obama will not change those exemptions.

The second order Obama will amend was signed by President Richard Nixon in 1969 to prevent discrimination against federal workers based on race, religion, gender, nationality, age or disability. President Bill Clinton added sexual orientation, and Obama will include gender identity in a change to immediately take effect.

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said: “With two strokes of a pen, the President will have a very real and immediate impact on the lives of millions of LGBT people across the country.”

The administration officials said the change for federal contracting will impact some 24,000 companies with 28 million workers, or one-fifth of the U.S. workforce. Many large federal contractors already have employment policies barring anti-gay workplace discrimination, as do 21 states. However, the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School estimates that the executive order would extend protections to about 14 million workers whose employers or states currently do not have such nondiscrimination policies.

While few religious organizations are among the biggest federal contractors, they do provide some valued services, including overseas relief and development programs and re-entry programs for inmates leaving federal prisons.

Obama was the first sitting president to publicly announce support of gay marriage, and in 2008 he promised to sign an anti-discrimination executive order.

CBS/AP

Latest Stories

  • Crime

    Officers involved in Palmer shooting that left K-9 dead identified

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 28, 9:19

    Alaska State Troopers have identified the officers involved in a weekend shooting that left a suspect injured and an trooper K-9 dead. A complaint filed Monday at the Palmer Courthouse states that at 5:20 a.m. Sunday, Palmer Police Department Officer Szipszky tried to pull over a green sedan, carrying four people, for having a tail […]

  • News

    Multiple agencies rescue Palmer climber impaled with ice ax

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 28, 8:24

    A Palmer woman fell while hiking Pioneer Peak on Tuesday, lodging an ice ax into her back and prompting a rescue by multiple agencies. In an online dispatch, Alaska State Troopers (AST) stated 23-year-old Shawnee Whitehorse was climbing with a partner at 9:44 p.m. Tuesday when she fell and, “had an ice axe (sic) lodged […]

  • Crime

    Burglar gets away with $170,000 of cash, goods

    by Associated Press on Sep 28, 7:17

    Juneau police are investigating after about $170,000 in cash, gold, jewelry and other goods was reported stolen on Douglas Island. KTOO-FM reports that police say in a news release officers responded Sunday to a report that a building off North Douglas Highway had been burglarized. The robbery affected a business and a private residence in the […]

  • News

    Warm Springs Bay: A secret gem locals would like to keep secret

    by Emily Carlson on Sep 27, 23:46

    In Warm Springs Bay, the clouds and ocean mark the time. Herring pounce on giant salmon, swallowing them in one gulp. Fishermen travel hundreds of miles out of their way to bathe in the public baths fueled by the nearby hot springs. At the Alaska Whale Research Center, biologists’ lives revolve around the ever-changing wind. […]

  • Sports

    UAA hockey now gets to the ice after months of talk

    by Dave Goldman on Sep 27, 23:22

    Finally. The talk ends. In the case of the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves, the discussion of breaking a two-year playoff drought was replaced all off-season with the constant chatter of whether or not the program will be around next year. That possibility still lingers. Budget cuts are coming. But at media day on Tuesday the […]

  • News

    Salvation Army’s Eagle Crest transitional housing center to close its doors Friday

    by Daniella Rivera on Sep 27, 22:52

    As a landscaping crew mowed the lawn Tuesday, all seemed like business as usual outside Eagle Crest, but inside the walls of the 76-bed facility, residents said there’s panic and uncertainty. “We feel like we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place,” said resident Jason Gladney. Gladney and Rodney Sampson say the Salvation Army […]

  • News

    Cuddy Family Park pond shows comeback as fewer people feed the birds

    by Lauren Maxwell on Sep 27, 22:44

    A year ago it was one of the dirtiest waterways in Anchorage, but now the pond at Cuddy Family Park in midtown Anchorage may be as clean as it’s ever been. Thom Northon with the Anchorage Waterways Council has been measuring fecal coliform rates for two years at the park. Last August, a sample taken […]

  • News

    Former Israeli President Shimon Peres dead at 93

    by CBS News on Sep 27, 19:59

    Even to his own people, Shimon Peres was a puzzle. He spoke eloquent Hebrew, but with a foreign accent, lacked formal education yet brimmed with culture, was a mediocre politician, but became a statesman of spectacular vision. Numerous reports have stated that former Israeli President Shimon Peres has passed away at the age of 93. […]