Rarely do LGBT-related issues get this much time at a White House briefing, but the White House decision yesterday to punt on issuing an executive order establishing LGBT non-discrimination for federal contractors is garnering a lot of attention. We cross-posted this at AMERICAblog Gay and also wrote about the decision, which The Washington Post called a "stinging setback," here and here.
Whoever made the decision to say no to the executive order made a bad decision. During today's press briefing, Sam Stein tweeted:
some sharp questions for carney on why obama will sign other executive orders but not one outlawing LGBT discrimination for fed contractersAnd, there were many sharp questions. Watch the video courtesy of Igor Volsky:
If the White House thought they had contained this issue, they were wrong. It's not going away. And, that excuse about wanting to pass ENDA instead, well, it's just not credible.
And, just to confirm that it's not going to go away, we got this via press release;
Within hours of the White House announcement, the “We Can’t Wait!” campaign received a $100,000 cash infusion from liberal donor Jonathan Lewis, the son of major Democratic philanthropist Peter Lewis.Jonathan Lewis and his father, Peter, are major contributors to progressive causes. And, by major, I mean they give millions.
Quotes from Jonathan Lewis:“This isn't a broken promise President Obama can blame on Congress. He has not been able to provide a single valid reason for why he is now refusing to sign the executive order protecting LGBT workers. It has become increasingly clear that this decision is based on cowardice rather than principled leadership."
“Over the past several years the LGBT advocacy groups have jumped through hoops for this administration, conducting extensive research and polling -- more than has been done for any similar executive order -- and now the only impediment is President Obama."
“This is nothing short of craven election-year politics, a game Obama told us he would not play.”
How is it that Team Obama has made another bad political calculation when it comes to the LGBT community? Have they learned nothing? This was another serious miscalculation.
Although, some are happy about the White House decision:
The loudest voices against nondiscrimination laws such as these have been from social conservatives. Ashley Horne of CitizenLink, an affiliate of Focus on the Family, welcomed the White House decision.I'm sure Focus on the Family will rally behind Obama's reelection now. Surely, that crowd will be hosting fundraisers, doing Get-out-the-vote and supporting Obama. Surely.
"We see this decision as one that recognizes that sexual orientation nondiscrimination policies are not necessary," she said in a statement. "Rather, they are often used to silence free speech, particularly the speech of people of faith."
BTW, the White House did send a press release today titled, "We Can’t Wait: Protecting Taxpayer Dollars from Wasteful Payment Errors and Fraud." So wasteful payments can't wait, but non-discrimination can.