National News

Jul 22, 2014 6:55 AM by Miranda Leah - @MirandaLeahKRIS

Sexual Orientation Discrimination Illegal With New Executive Order

A new executive order signed will protect the LGBT community from discrimination in the federal workforce.

The order will affect thousands of companies that employ some 28-million workers, roughly a fifth of the Nation's workers.

Koby Ozias is one employee who knows first-hand what it's like to be discriminated against based on sexual orientation.

"Knowing that you're being judged on something that you can't change," he said. "And not on your abilities, is terrible."

With President Obama's new executive order, that won't happen for federal contractors.

The action updates two previous orders about discrimination already on the books, making it illegal to discriminate against federal employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

"Millions of our fellow citizens wake up and go to work with the awareness that they could lose their job," said President Obama. "Not because of anything they do, or what they fail to do, but because of who they are."

However, it's too soon to know just how far this mandate will reach. Many are concerned that it could lead to an effect on the private sector.

"Every job has to discriminate at some level," said Lexington Baptist Church Pastor Scott Higginbotham. "That's what qualifications are. Just ‘qualification' sounds nicer than ‘discrimination.'"

The order is also receiving criticism because it does not include an exemption for religious organizations.

"I think people ought to be free to hire who they want to work for them," said Higginbotham.

The order is now in effect for the federal government, and protections for employees of federal contractors will start early next year.


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