Today, Congressman Steve Rothman (NJ-9) joined 71 of his colleagues in writing a letter to President Obama which called on him to sign an executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) employees.
"Unfortunately, it remains legal to fire an individual because they are gay or transgender in a majority of the states in our nation. This is unacceptable and does not reflect the core values we share as Americans," said Congressman Rothman. "As an advocate for equal rights for LGBT Americans, I believe gay and transgender workers deserve consistent and full employment protections nationwide, which the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would provide and I support."
Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have outlawed employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and only 16 states and the District of Columbia have done so on the basis of gender identity. New Jersey is one of the 16 states that protect the rights of employees from being fired on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. ENDA, which Congressman Rothman is an original cosponsor, would grant LGBT employees similar workplace protections currently afforded to women, people of color, seniors, veterans, and the disabled.
"With this Congress unlikely to move on ENDA, I join with my colleagues and strongly urge President Obama to use his power to issue an executive order to ensure that federal contractors are no longer allowed to discriminate against the LGBT community," said Congressman Rothman. "It is long past time to end the second class treatment of LGBT Americans and President Obama can start with providing employment protections to Federal LGBT employees."
The letter asks President Obama to "sign an executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating in the workplace based on an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity. This order would extend important workplace protections to millions of Americans, while at the same time laying the groundwork for Congressional passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act."
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