Obama orders non-discrimination for LGBT employees on federal contracts | Arkansas Blog

Monday, June 16, 2014

Obama orders non-discrimination for LGBT employees on federal contracts

Posted By on Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 11:13 AM

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Until Br'er Rapert and Bullet Bob Ballinger rewrite the U.S. Constitution,  the following news from Think Progress will have applicability in Arkansas:

The White House announced Monday that President Obama will issue an executive order requiring that all companies who contract with the federal government must not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The order, expected to be finalized in the coming weeks, is an extension of orders previously issued by past presidents — most recently Johnson — similarly banning employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin among all contractors and subcontractors who do over $10,000 in business with the government in any one year.

The protections will reach over one million LGBT workers across the country, making it the single largest expansion of LGBT workplace protections in our country’s history. There continue to be 29 states that offer no employment protections on the basis of sexual orientation and 32 with no protections based on gender identity, but many LGBT workers in those states will now have workplace protections for the first time ever.

Of course Arkansas is one of those states without state-level protection.

The Human Rights Campaign says the order could cover 20 percent of the workforce.

Which reminds me again: If a non-discrimination ordinance is good enough for Houston, Texas, and Danville, Ky., why not for Little Rock, Ark., Mayor Stodola?

PS: The city of Little Rock coincidentally announced today:

On Wednesday, July 2, 2014 the Arkansas Psychological Association will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of the impact of discrimination in the workplace on those groups named in the 1964 Civil Rights Act signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2nd.

A committee appointed by the Arkansas Psychological  Association Board reviewed the effect of discrimination in the workplace on race, ethnicity/nationality, gender, sexual orientation and religion supported by scientifically based psychological studies. A public statement has been prepared that summarizes the effect of workplace discrimination on disenfranchised groups and will be read during the event. This statement also addresses the resolve of the Arkansas Psychological Association to work to create a healthy workplace environment for all populations.

I don't believe the federal civil rights law yet protects people from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Such legislation has passed the Senate, but the Republican House prefers to keep employment discrimination against gay people legal.

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