By TJ Acena, PQ MonthlyThink Progress reports that nearly 200 congressional Democrats have signed a letter urging President Obama to sing an executive order requiring federal contractors not to discriminate against LGBTQ people:
Â The proposed executive order, which the White House describes as â€œhypotheticalâ€ despite internal reports that it has previously been drafted, has been an issue of contention with the administration for nearly three years. Despite a campaign pledge then-candidate Obama made in 2007 to issue such an order, his administrationâ€™s standard response is that it prefers a legislative solution (ENDA), even though House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has insisted no such vote will take place this year. This principle contradicts a similar step Obama recently took, using an executive order to increase the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors in lieu of waiting for Congress to act.Think Progress also points out that even if ENDA passes, the law only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, so an executive order would help protect all employees of federal contractors. They also point out itâ€™s still legal to fire people for sexual orientation in 29 states (Oregon is not one of those states, we just canâ€™t have gay marriage hereâ€¦ yet). Meanwhile, studies show that 38% of LGBTQ people still experience some form of discrimination at the workplace. Obama has shown reluctance in issuing executive orders, and he has issued fewer than almost any US president over the last 100 years (and also fewer Presidential pardons than any recent US president. So far the only presidential record he has managed to break is deporting more people than any past President.). My best guess is that itâ€™s because he doesnâ€™t want to be seen as too assertive to Republicans (reminder: we do not live in a post-racial society). But the thing is, Republicans have generally despised Obama no matter what he has done, and the guys has spent so much time trying to walk the line of the â€˜moderateâ€™ and â€˜reach across the aisleâ€™. Remember, Republicans once shut down the entire government because they didnâ€™t want the Affordable Care Act trying to slightly improve living conditions for Americans by making health care more accessible. As his second term begins to wind down I keep hoping that Obama will start to live up to the ideals that everyone held him to when they voted for him. This would be easy, if the executive order is already drafted then just pull it out, give it a once over, and sign it. Bring the country a little closer to treating all of its citizens equally. Also, spell check it. Thatâ€™s super important.