says to bar LGBT discrimination by federal contractors
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[June 18, 2014]
By Roberta Rampton
NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Barack
Obama said on Tuesday he will sign an executive order barring federal
contractors from discriminating against employees based on their sexual
orientation, but told gay rights activists they need to keep up the
pressure on Congress to pass a broader law.
Drawing a lengthy standing ovation from a lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender (LGBT) gala raising money for the Democratic
National Committee, Obama said the order was the right thing to do
for human rights and the economy.
"We don't benefit as a country or an economy - businesses don't
benefit - if they're leaving talent off the field," Obama said.
The White House confirmed on Monday that Obama would sign the order,
which would make it illegal for companies with U.S. government
contracts to fire or avoid hiring employees based on sexual
orientation and gender identity, just as it now is with race.
The order would apply to about 20 percent of the U.S. workforce,
according to gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.
Obama said he had hoped Congress would pass broader legislation
banning employment discrimination against LGBT people, but noted the
Republican-controlled House of Representatives has not taken up a
bill passed in November by the Senate.
About 550 people attended the gala, with tickets ranging from $1,200
[to top of second column]
It was one of three Democratic fundraising events in New York City
for Obama on Tuesday. Obama later attended a dinner at the home of
Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue magazine, with about 30
guests contributing up to $32,400, a DNC official said.
Earlier, he participated in an event at the Intercontinental Hotel
in Times Square for Senate Majority PAC. A spokesman for the group
did not respond to a request for information about the event.
(Editing by Eric Walsh)
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