Six of the seven Democrats in Minnesota’s congressional delegation are among the House and Senate members pressuring President Obama to sign an executive order protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans from workplace discrimination.
All told, 195 members of Congress signed the letter, including U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan and Tim Walz signed the letter; Democratic congressman Collin Peterson did not.
Obama has the ability to ban employment discrimination by government contractors.
“Issuing an executive order prohibiting discrimination against LGBT workers in federal contracts would build on the significant progress for LGBT rights made during your time as President and would further your legacy as a champion for LGBT equality. We urge you to act now to prevent irrational, taxpayer-funded workplace discrimination against LGBT Americans,” the letter reads.
Congressional legislation would apply to all employers. The proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has passed the Democratic-controlled Senate, but the legislation has stalled in the Republican-led House.
No Republicans signed on to the letter asking Obama to issue an executive order.
White House officials would prefer to see Congress pass ENDA, since executive action wouldn't protect all LGBT workers.
Ellison, a member of the U.S. House LGBT Equality Caucus, will moderate a panel discussion on transgender concerns, issues of inequality and LGBT youth experiences at 5 p.m. central standard time today at the Fridley Community Center.