President Barack Obama signed an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The order puts gender discrimination on the same level as discrimination on the basis of race and other factors. (In the 60s, Lyndon Johnson signed an order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.") Obama's order notably did not include an exemption for religious organizations, an important factor in broadening its impact, welcomed by LGBT advocates. The executive order comes after a failure to get similar legislation passed through Congress.
In signing the order, Obama brought attention to the advocates who had championed the cause. "Thanks to your passionate advocacy and the irrefutable rightness of your cause, our government--of the people, by the people, and for the people--will become just a little bit fairer," he said. The statement was a interesting case of political positioning: the representative process by which the people's will is meant to be most accurately reflected and expressed--the elected Congress--had failed to support the law.
[Check out the "Most Interesting Finds" on Amazon ]