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LGBT groups ask President Obama to bar workplace discrimination

Workplace discrimination takes many forms, and members of the LBGT community, including those in Michigan, are calling for President Obama to sign an executive order implementing protections for LGBT community members. Specifically, the president has been urged, sometimes rather forcefully, to officially prohibit companies that contract with the federal government from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

In fact, the White House is hosting a Pride celebration, and the first gay and married Michigan couple has been asked to attend. While Michigan bans same-sex marriage, the men were able to marry at the reservation for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. The men, one of whom was at one time a decorated member of the U.S. Navy, have reportedly been partners for 30 years.

Complicating matters in this discrimination-related story is that gay rights advocates argue that President Obama has been slow to move on the executive order, which he said he supported in 2008 during his campaign.

According to a vice president with the Human Rights Campaign, President Obama "has done virtually everything right on issues of LGBT equality." It has been frustrating, however, "to see time go by without his signature on an EO that would protect millions of LGBT workers nationwide."

Other groups have promised "action" of some kind at the White House's Pride reception, though details were understandably sparse. The White House also isn't letting on exactly what the president will say or do at the gathering.

Oakland County residents who are concerned about workplace discrimination will want to stay abreast of any promised changes the president makes. Discrimination is unacceptable and hurtful in the work environment, and Michigan residents who have been harmed or otherwise mistreated in the workplace would well to apprise themselves of their rights.

Source: Washington Blade, "New calls for ENDA directive as White House reception approaches," Chris Johnson, June 12, 2013

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