WASHINGTON, D.C.—Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, released the following statement today upon the announcement of new rules released by the U.S. Department of Labor requiring equal protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans who work for the federal government or federal contractor:
“Today’s announcement is an important step forward toward an America where discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity will no longer be tolerated. Millions of Americans will no longer have to fear for their jobs simply because of who they are or who they love. Expanded equality will make our nation’s workplaces more productive and successful drivers of our economy.
“Today’s ruling moves us in the right direction, but we still have more work to do. We must continue to pursue full equality for all Americans, not just those who happen to work for federal contractors or live in certain states. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and our partners in the LGBT community so that our laws reflect our values and guarantee equal treatment for all Americans.”
Merkley has been a leading voice in Congress calling for an executive order to ban discrimination among federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Earlier this year, he led over 200 members of the House and Senate in calling for such an executive order. Senator Merkley was the lead Senate sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the leading congressional advocate for an executive order to bar federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT Americans in the workplace.