Congressman Frank Pallone issued the following statement today regarding the White House's decision to sign an executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers. Pallone has sent letters to the White House urging executive action for the last three years and held a Congressional briefing on this subject in 2012:
"I commend President Obama for taking a critical step today to ensure that members of the LGBT community receive the same protections afforded to all other Americans. What matters in the workplace is how you do your job--not who you are. No one in this country should be subjected to discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and the time for action is long past due.
"It is absolutely unconscionable that in 2014, a federal contract worker may be fired on the basis of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity without legal repercussions. That is why I led a letter to President Obama in 2012, gathering more than 70 member of Congress, calling on the president to sign an executive order prohibiting contractors from receiving federal funds unless they have sexual orientation and gender identity anti-discrimination policies in place. I am glad that in the years since, others have joined this call and now President Obama has issued this executive order to protect LGBT employees.
"While this executive order is a critical step towards ensuring that federal dollars do not go to contractors without strong policies prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, there is more work that needs to be done. Congress has an obligation to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and guarantee fairness in the workplace for every American employee. Congress should follow the President's lead and schedule a vote on ENDA immediately.
"I remain committed to working in Congress to make sure that all Americans are free to work without the threat of harassment or discrimination, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Today's action by the President, though, sends a clear sign that we will not tolerate such discrimination and serves as a crucial step forward in our efforts to guarantee LGBT equality in this country."