Fifty years ago President Eisenhower signed a law that prohibited the Federal government or its contractors from hiring gay people. A few days ago President Obama’s office notified GLBT advocates that he would not issue an exectutive order banning such discrimiation.
The President had campaigned on a promise to repeal the order, but determined to take, a “multipronged effort to better address workplace discrimination against gay and transgender Americans.” In other words he is asking us to believe that he trusts the Republican congress to protect GLBT workers.
Slate Magazine quotes Charles Kaiser:
“In 2012 it’s outrageous that the current president is reluctant to sign an executive order that would do the opposite (of Eisenhower’s order),” Kaiser added. “After getting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repealed, and refusing to defend DOMA in court, Obama has by far the best record on gay rights of any president. His decision to blemish that record this way is baffling and disturbing.”
Slate says further that “Human Rights Campaign (HRC) president Joe Solmonese said in a statement that he was particularly shocked by the White House’s move considering the amount of evidence supporting the necessity of such a measure. “No similar executive order has ever had this kind of extensive research or factual basis established,” he said.”
The New York Times has criticized the President’s decision, calling it a “sin of omission.” “His hesitation to ban gay bias by government contractors, like his continued failure to actually endorse the freedom to marry, feels like a cynical hedge,” the editorial board writes.
Some time back, when asked whether he believed in gay marriage, Obama hedged by saying he is “evolving”. Perhaps after the election the President will have evolved enough to stand fully upright on this issue.