Gay, Transgender Workers Gain US Bias Protection

Below is a recent newspaper article regarding the new protections that will protect Gay, transgender workers from work discrimination in El Paso, Texas and Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Note that it only effects Federal workers and Federal Contractors.  However with the large number of Federal Contractors in El Paso and Las Cruces this should provide some protection from wrongful termination and discrimination based on orientation.  We are still awaiting to see if Title VII will be amended to protect all gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination and wrongful termination.  However with the US Senate being held by the Republicans such changes seem doubtful unless there is a shift in the US Senate.

By Nedra Pickler

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON>> President Barack Obama on Monday ordered employment protection for gay and transgender employees working for the federal government and for companies holding federal contracts, telling advocates he embraced the “irrefutable rightness of your cause.”

“America’s federal contracts should not subsidize discrimination against the American people,” Obama declared at a White House signing ceremony.

Obama said it was unacceptable that being gay is still a firing offense in many places in the United States, and he called on Congress to extend the ban to all employers. But legislation that would extend the ban has become embroiled in a dispute over whether religious groups should get exemptions.

The president had long resisted pressure to pursue an executive antidiscrimination order covering federal contractors in the hope that Congress would take more sweeping action. The Senate passed legislation last year with some Republican support, but it has not been considered by the GOP-controlled House. Now, said Obama, “It’s time to address this injustice for every American.”

Mia Macy of Portland, Oregon, watched Obama’s announcement in tears as an invited guest in the East Room. The military veteran and former Phoenix police detective applied to be a ballistics expert with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as a male but was rejected after she changed her name and began identifying as a woman. She filed a successful complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and settled a discrimination lawsuit against the governmentlast year. “Having a president acknowledge us for the first time in history as citizens instead of second-class citizens is just monumental,” Macy said in a telephone interview. She said Obama personally thanked her for her pioneering role in a private meeting before the ceremony.

Obama had faced pressure from opposing flanks over whether he would include an exemption in the executive action for religious organizations. He decided to maintain a provision that allows religious groups with federal contracts to hire and fire based upon religious identity, but he did not grant any exception to consider sexual orientation or gender identity.

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