Seventy-two members of Congress have urged President Obama to issue an executive order that would “prohibit federal contractors from discriminating in the workplace based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

In an April 3 letter to the White House, they urged Obama to expand on President Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 order that prohibited contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

“The opportunity to expand protections against workplace discrimination to members of the LGBT [lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender] community is a critical step that you can take today,” the letter said, “especially when data and research tell us that 43 percent of LGB people and 90 percent of transgender people have experienced workplace discrimination.”

Only House Democrats signed the letter, which originated with New Jersey’s Frank Pallone Jr.

“I am pleased to join so many colleagues and reputable organizations to call for an executive order that ensures all Americans are afforded the same protections in the workplace,” Pallone said. “This action by the President will send a clear sign that we will not tolerate such discrimination and serve as a step forward in our efforts to ensure LGBT equality.”


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