Joe Biden Takes The Lead On LGBT Rights Again

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Vice President Joe Biden

In a similar manner as to his handling of the question of marriage equality, the Vice President’s recent remarks on workplace protections for LGBT employees of federal contractors is causing quite a stir in the Obama administration.

Greg Kabel

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Biden said he doesn’t see why President Obama should not issue an executive order to prohibit workplace discrimination. Biden also reiterated his support for Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA.)

“I don’t see any downside,” Biden told Huffington Post reporter Jennifer Bendery in regards to Obama taking executive action.

The Vice President has started the ball rolling on gay rights initiatives before. In the spring of 2012, Biden said he was “comfortable” with same-sex marriage during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Those remarks preceded, and likely pressured, the President’s decision to come out publicly in favor of marriage equality.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dodged the question of an executive order at last week’s press briefing, pushing instead the administration’s support for the passage of ENDA.

“We’re focused on the big accomplishment, which would be the passage by both houses of Congress and the signing into law by the President of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act,” Carney said.

ENDA was passed in the U.S. Senate last November by a 64-32 vote, but appears to have hit the wall in the House where Speaker John Boehner is refusing to give it a vote.


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