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President orders job protection for homosexuals at federal level

WASHINGTON (BP)–President Clinton signed a ground-breaking executive order May 28 extending job protection in the federal government to homosexuals.
The order added “sexual orientation” to the list of categories, such as race, gender and age, already protected by executive order against discrimination in the federal civilian workforce. With Clinton as president the last five years, most federal agencies and departments already had instituted policies providing job protection for homosexuals.
“It has always been the practice of this administration to prohibit discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation in the civilian workforce. … The executive order I have signed today will ensure that there is a uniform policy throughout” the federal workplace, Clinton said in a written statement.
The president also reiterated his support for the Employment Non-discrimination Act, legislation that would make discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation” illegal in both the public and private workforce.
In 1996, ENDA failed to gain passage in the U.S. Senate by only one vote, 50-49. A Senate hearing was held last October, but no action has been taken. While the legislation may have a chance at success in the Senate this session, it has almost no hope of adoption in the House of Representatives.
The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is among the organizations opposed to ENDA. At the Senate hearing, representatives from the National Council of Churches and Presbyterian Church (USA) endorsed the legislation.
Clinton’s latest action further enhances his status as the president who has done the most to advance homosexual rights. He has sought and received the support of homosexuals in both presidential election campaigns. Only days after taking office in 1993, he announced an attempt to overturn the ban on homosexuals in the military but was basically thwarted. He appointed a liaison to the homosexual community and named several open homosexuals to posts in his administration. Last November, he became the first president to speak at a homosexual rights event, when he addressed the national dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, the movement’s largest political organization.
The president is a member of Immanuel Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church in Little Rock, Ark. At its 1993 meeting, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution distancing itself from Clinton’s support of abortion and homosexual rights.