• President Obama Signs Non-Discrimination Executive Order
  • July 26, 2014
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • On Monday, President Obama signed an executive order banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals by companies that contract with the federal government.

    The federal government already prohibits discrimination against gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals in its own work force, but the president had been under pressure from LGBT rights activists to extend that protection to include companies that do work for the federal government. President Obama’s executive order also explicitly included gender identity—in addition to sexual orientation—specifically guaranteeing that transgender employees would also be protected from job discrimination.

    In light of the controversial Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case there has been a renewed debate over the question of whether religious groups should be exempt from certain legislation that may be considered counter to their religious beliefs. President Obama declined to include any religious exemption in his executive order, but advocates for religious groups have promised to bring the action to court.

    President Obama’s executive order adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of categories protected among federal contractors that was first approved by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965.