WASHINGTON – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after it was reported that Exxon Mobil will change its nondiscrimination policies to include protections for LGBT workers. The news follows a 2014 executive order backed by Merkley that will soon require all federal contractors to include nondiscrimination protections for LGBT workers. Exxon Mobil, which would have risked losing its federal contracts had it not changed its policies, employs nearly 75,000 workers.
“This news shows that when we push for change, we can have a real and tangible impact. This executive order, as demonstrated by Exxon Mobil, will enhance equality and opportunity for millions of American workers. No one should be fired for who they are or whom they love. This is a great victory for our nation’s long-held principle that our taxpayer dollars should not fund discrimination.
“Make no mistake, though, our work is far from done. This progress should only inspire us to work harder for comprehensive nondiscrimination legislation that will cover all LGBT Americans and end anti-LGBT discrimination not just in employment, but in public accommodations, housing, and more.”
Merkley has long been a champion for LGBT nondiscrimination, leading the successful fight as the Speaker of the Oregon House in 2007 to pass a comprehensive nondiscrimination bill, shepherding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act through the U.S. Senate on a bipartisan vote in December 2013, and championing the creation of an Executive Order to end discrimination in companies that contract with the federal government. Last year, Merkley led a group of more than 200 members of Congress in calling on the President to sign such an executive order.
The executive order was signed in July 2014.