Obama Said to Issue Executive Order Barring LGBT Bias

President Barack Obama will sign an executive order next week that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in hiring for federal jobs, a White House official said.

Obama is set to sign the order July 21 and it will take effect immediately for government employees and early next year for federal contractors. It prohibits discrimination against people who aren’t covered already by anti-bias executive actions dating back to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration in the 1960s.

The mandate still will allow contractors tied to religious groups to hire people based on their religious affiliation, while prohibiting discrimination against gays and trans-gendered employees other than clergy, according to the White House official, who asked for anonymity to talk about the action before the official announcement.

Obama is signing the order after Congress stalled last year on a proposed law providing similar protection. He’s said he would use executive authority this year if Congress doesn’t act on his agenda. House Speaker John Boehner has said he will sue Obama over his expansive use of executive power.

The White House last month announced Obama’s intent to sign the LGBT executive order the day before he headlined a Democratic National Committee fundraiser with the gay community in New York.

Also in June, Obama directed the Labor Department to draft rules to allow gay and lesbian couples in all states to take unpaid time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for a spouse. That rule would apply to same-sex couples across the U.S. regardless of whether they live in a state that recognizes gay marriage.

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