Gay-rights Groups Push Obama for Executive Order Banning ‘Discrimination’

photo credit: mark fowlerGay rights advocates plan to push President Obama to go big on their agenda in his second term.

Buoyed by the approval of same-sex marriage in several states on Election Day, lobbyists for gay rights groups plan to prod the president to sign an executive order that would ban discrimination by federal contractors against gay and transgendered people.

The White House shelved the executive order earlier this year, but it remains a top priority for gay rights groups. They argue that if Obama signs the order it could encourage Capitol Hill to pass broader legislation that would extend a similar ban to employers.

Allison Herwitt, legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign, said gay rights supporters want to see movement from the president soon.

“The push is to have them do it sooner instead of later,” Herwitt said. “I do think it helps pave the way for a fully inclusive [Employment Non-Discrimination Act]. … It is the way that the government puts its imprimatur on what’s important and makes a difference in people’s lives. The president would be saying it’s important not to discriminate.”

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