Following Metro Weekly's exclusive report on March 8 that then-Sen. Barack Obama told the Houston GLBT Political Caucus in February 2008 that he would support a federal contractor nondiscrimination policy including sexual orientation and gender identity as president, the American Civil Liberties Union today called on President Obama to sign an executive order to that effect, calling it "the single most important step" the president could take before re-election to help stop anti-LGBT job discrimination.
The Human Rights Campaign's vice president for communications, Fred Sainz, told Metro Weekly that HRC, which has endorsed Obama's re-election, had been unaware of the questionnaire prior to the March 8 report. He added, though, "[W]e're not surprised that the president understands the importance of this executive order."
In coments by the ACLU's legislative representative Ian Thompson, Thompson wrote, "The ACLU views this executive order as the single most important step that President Obama could take this year to eradicate anti-LGBT discrimination from American workplaces. ... Candidate Obama was right to endorse this executive order in 2008. It's time for President Obama to issue it."
Sainz concurred, writing, "In the absence of a federal [Employment Non-Discrimination Act], an executive order is the best possible way of covering the greatest number of LGBT workers right away."
Spokespersons at the White House and Obama campaign have not responded to multiple requests from Metro Weekly asking whether Obama has changed his position on whether he supports such a policy, and if not, why he has not yet signed an executive order as president to implement such a policy.
Sainz told Metro Weekly that, along with the Center for American Progress, ACLU and Williams Institute, HRC has "regularly and continuously advocated with White House and Administration officials on the importance of this order."
He noted that HRC recently shared polling data with the Obama administration finding that 73 percent of Americans support a policy that would require companies that do business with the federal government to not discriminate against LGBT people in employment. In addition, Sainz reports that HRC has shared extensive data from the group's Workplace Project, including the 2012 Corporate Equality Index, reflecting that a majority of Fortune 500 companies already have these kinds of nondiscrimination policies in place.