On Monday, July 21, 2014, President Obama approved and signed an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government (1969), and Executive Order 11246, Equal Employment Opportunity (1965), already protected federal employees on the basis of sexual orientation. The amendments put into action July 21 will formally protect workers from discrimination based on gender identity as well. The Order went into effect immediately after signing.
While signing the new Order, President Obama further vowed his commitment to LGBT equality, asserting "we have an obligation to make sure the country we love remains a place where, no matter who you love, you can make it."
Barry Curtiss-Lusher and Abraham Foxman, national chair and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, voiced their support of Obama's actions in a public statement on July 21, saying, "For nearly 50 years it has been illegal for federal contractors to discriminate in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This action by President Obama continues his historic leadership in promoting LGBT rights and equality and moves our nation closer to full equality in the workplace."