Biden issues executive order against LGBTQ workplace discrimination
On his first day in office, President Jose Biden issued an executive order assuring that the federal government will not engage in workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
This is among the 17 executive orders that Biden signed after his inauguration as the 46th US president. He is also expected to issue an order revoking past-President Donald Trump’s transgender military ban.
No workplace discrimination in federal offices
In a press release from the Biden transition team, the said executive order “builds on the US Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County (2020).”
The Trump administration had largely ignored the Bostock decision. During the hearing of the case at the high court, they had argued that the prohibition on sex discrimination doesn’t apply to the LGBTQ community.
The order “ensures that the federal government interprets Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
It also directs agencies to take “lawful steps to make sure that federal anti-discrimination statutes” prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
This order is likewise expected to stand against any workplace discrimination in the private sector.
In the landmark decision of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination also applies to anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
However, the decision only applies to workplace discrimination, which means that there is still a need for the Equality Act.
The Equality Act, which Biden has promised to pass the act in his first 100 days in office, would ensure anti-discrimination protections in housing, public accommodations, and the like.
LGBTQ rights advocates laud Biden’s executive order
Many LGBTQ rights groups lauded Biden for signing the order on his first day of office.
Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said this is “the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a United States president.”
Meanwhile, Imani Rupert-Gordon, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said, “President Biden is boldly demonstrating that his administration will prioritize the civil rights of all Americans.”
“It is such a relief to have a government that is committed to preventing discrimination as opposed to enabling it,” commented James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT & HIV Project.
Sharon McGowan, legal director for Lambda Legal, said: “LGBTQ people can now have confidence that the federal government will actually defend, rather than resist, our right to be free from discrimination.”
Speaking to NBC News, Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), “I’m excited about the fact that the incoming administration wants to ensure full inclusion, but also take advantage of all that the community has to offer.”
Further, Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said the order “moves us another step toward a day when transgender people can openly live as who they are without being targeted for discrimination.”