Dear President Obama,
We write to urge you to build on your record as the strongest president in U.S. history for promoting equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans by signing an executive order to ban federal contractors from engaging in anti-LGBT workplace discrimination. Nobody should ever be fired or harassed just because of who they are or whom they love. We agree with Freedom to Work and many other LGBT organizations that if corporations are going to take money from American taxpayers, then they should have to abide by American values like judging people based on their talent and hard work, not their sexual orientation or gender identity.
DynCorp, a military contractor which profits from billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars, was recently exposed for running a hostile work environment in which one employee was bullied at work and called “faggot,” “queer” and “dick-sucker” on a daily basis. After more than 50,000 citizens signed a petition on change.org, DynCorp finally agreed to add LGBT protections to its anti-harassment policies. However, many more companies will take this positive step once you approve the executive order that your staff has already drafted and recommended you sign. In fact, research by the Williams Institute shows that by issuing an executive order, you will cover more than 16 million additional workers against LGBT discrimination.
Your executive order will be popular: A recent poll by the Center for American Progress found that almost 70% of likely 2012 voters support this very executive order. That support crosses political party lines, with 83% of Democrats, 69% of Independents, and even a majority of Republicans in favor of presidential action to stop LGBT discrimination.
Your executive order will be good for businesses and U.S. taxpayers: Most of the top government contractors – companies like Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin – already have LGBT non-discrimination rules, and they adopted them because they realize that discrimination is bad for the bottom line. Your executive order will only affect the hold-out companies that still engage in prejudice. As taxpayers, we should never have our money squandered by letting our government subsidize discrimination and harassment.
Most importantly, your executive order is the right thing to do: LGBT Americans deserve full equality under the law, and we expect our elected officials to promote equality of opportunity whenever they can. According to news reports, your staff at the Justice Department and Labor Department have already written and approved the text of the executive order, and all that remains is for you to sign it. We respectfully urge you to do so.