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WASHINGTON, DC, July 21, 2014 – The American Bar Association commends President Obama for signing an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The order is a positive step towards full equality under the law in our country and will offer added protection from discrimination to some 14 million federal contract workers whose employers or states currently do not ban workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. The executive order also prohibits discrimination against all federal workers on the basis of gender identity. Previously, federal workers were only protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Unfortunately, the law in 29 states allows employers to fire or refuse employment to a person based on sexual orientation and 32 states also lack explicit laws banning discrimination based on gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign. While the new executive order holds federal contractors to a higher standard and provides additional protections to federal workers, the ABA urges federal, state, local, and territorial governments to enact legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation, in employment, housing and public accommodations.
The ABA has a long tradition of actively opposing discrimination. Whenever any of our basic civil rights are diminished or marginalized on the basis of personal characteristics, all of our basic civil rights are jeopardized.
(Media contact: Matt Cimento, Matthew.Cimento@americanbar.org)
Please click here for a biography and photo of James R. Silkenat, president of the American Bar Association.
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