• 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

  • News

    Facebook bans white nationalist over hate speech

    by CBS News on Aug 16, 17:08

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Facebook (FB) has banned the Facebook and Instagram accounts of a white nationalist who attended the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that ended in deadly violence. Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja tells The Associated Press that the profile pages of Christopher Cantwell have been removed as well as a page connected to his podcast. […]

  • News

    Governors of 2 pot states push back on Trump administration

    by Associated Press on Aug 16, 16:34

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Governors in at least two states that have legalized recreational marijuana are pushing back against the Trump administration and defending their efforts to regulate the industry. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week, asking the Department of Justice to maintain the Obama administration’s […]

  • News

    Loss of sea ice leads walruses to early appearance in Alaska

    by Associated Press on Aug 16, 15:51

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says Pacific walruses have begun coming ashore along Alaska’s northwest coast, and it’s likely because sea ice in the Arctic Ocean already has receded beyond the outer continental shelf. Walruses by the thousands in recent years have come ashore in early fall. The agency says […]

  • News

    NY Times’ editorial page editor: No apology for Sarah Palin

    by Associated Press on Aug 16, 15:42

    NEW YORK (AP) – The editorial page editor of The New York Times has been grilled in federal court by a lawyer for Sarah Palin, who’s suing over an editorial that linked right-wing political rhetoric to the 2011 shooting of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords. The newspaper published the editorial in June after a gunman […]

  • News

    Airport post office taking over Anchorage passport applications

    by Chris Klint on Aug 16, 15:09

    If you’re applying for a U.S. passport in Anchorage you’ll soon have to head for the airport, as the U.S. Postal Service puts all of its local passport-related operations under a single roof. A dedicated passport center will open five days a week, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Monday, at the main […]

  • Peter Pan Seafoods Port Moller plant devastated in overnight fire

    by Dave Bendinger / KDLG on Aug 16, 13:13

    The 100-year-old Peter Pan Seafoods processing plant in Port Moller has been devastated by a massive fire that burned through the night and into Wednesday morning. So far no one has been reported injured, but power, running water, and most phone and internet connections are down in the remote community. Chris Clemens skippers the fishing […]

  • Penn. man fined $9K over false residency claim in Alaska bear hunts

    by KTVA Web Staff on Aug 16, 12:52

    A man from Pennsylvania will pay a steep penalty over two illegal Alaska bear kills, after Alaska Wildlife Troopers say he falsely claimed to be an Alaska resident when he applied to hunt them near the Brooks Range. Brian Schoenly, 53, was ordered to pay $9,000 in fines plus $1,900 in restitution, troopers spokeswoman Megan […]

  • DayBreak

    Workforce Wednesday: Dental laboratory technician

    by Daybreak Staff on Aug 16, 11:36

    A Dental Laboratory Technician is a career in the medical field which directly impacts a person’s day-to-day life and requires attention to detail. Sean Siegal, owner of Castable Ceramics, says the goal is to take prescriptions from local dental offices and fill them. This would entail creating crowns, molars, and even dentures. These ceramics are not […]