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Obama to sign order Monday barring federal discrimination against LGBT communities

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By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will sign an executive order on Monday barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, senior administration officials said.

The White House said last month that Obama would issue the order but declined to give details on its content or the timing of when he would do so.

The order will allow some exemptions for religious groups that are federal contractors but not as much flexibility as the groups had wanted.

A religious organization would be barred from making hiring decisions based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Exceptions would be allowed for ministers, and groups would be allowed to favor individuals of a particular religion when hiring.

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Officials told reporters on Friday that Obama’s action would update two previous orders about discrimination already on the books.

It would update an order by President Lyndon Johnson by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to a list of protected categories for federal contractors.

It would also update an order by President Richard Nixon from 1969, adding gender identity to a list of groups that are protected from being discriminated against as federal employees.

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The order already banned discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and age. It was updated in 1998 by President Bill Clinton to include sexual orientation.

A senior administration official said the order would affect 24,000 companies that employ some 28 million workers, roughly a fifth of the nation’s work force.

Obama has pressed Congress to pass legislation that would ban such discrimination for all companies, but it has failed to gain traction with Republican lawmakers.

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The White House believes the order will help improve productivity by reducing fears among employees that they could be fired for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

“This is another case where doing what is right also helps businesses improve their bottom line,” one official told reporters on a conference call.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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2020 Election

Do politicians actually care about your opinions? This researcher says no

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Earlier this month, a New York Times op-ed written by two political science professors, Ethan Porter of George Washington University and Joshua Kalla of Yale, discussed their troubling research findings: State legislators, the two claim, don't much care about the opinions of their constituents, even if they're given detailed data regarding their views.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Black Georgia lawmaker accuses white man of demanding she ‘go back where she came from’ in supermarket diatribe

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On Friday evening, Erica Thomas, and African-American Democratic lawmaker in the Georgia House of Representatives, was shopping at a Publix supermarket in Mableton when a white customer came up to her and shouted at her, telling her to "go back where you came from" — words echoing President Donald Trump's recent racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color.

Thomas' crime? She had too many items for the express checkout line.

Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!

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US President Donald Trump offered Saturday to guarantee the bail of rapper ASAP Rocky, detained in Sweden on suspicion of assault following a street brawl.

Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who he said gave assurances that the singer would be treated fairly.

"Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative," Trump wrote.

There is no system of bail in Sweden.

Trump said he and Lofven had agreed to speak again over the next 48 hours.

Fans, fellow artists and US Congress members have campaigned for the 30-year-old artist, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, to be freed since his arrest on July 3 following the fight on June 30.

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