President Obama is creating (and will sign) an order banning all federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
This new executive order is expected to affect 14 million American workers whose employers or states do not ban discrimination against LGBT employees.
The President, however, does not have the power to give the same protections to the general population. In fact, he initially put off signing the executive order because he was waiting for Congress to pass a broader employment non-discrimination act that would apply to most employers.
That has yet to happen. Josh Earnest, White House spokesman, said the new non-discrimination act was blocked in the Republican-majority House. "We've been waiting for quite a few months now for the House to take action and unfortunately there are no particularly strong indications that Congress is prepared to act on this." Such a bummer. Everyone deserves to have protection against workplace discrimination.
President Obama's new executive order is a step forward, but it still only means the 10% of workers in the U.S. will be covered.
Hopefully this new executive order will give Congress a kick in the rear to pass the broader non-discrimination law.