Political Beat

Murray, Cantwell join call for LGBT protection

U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both Washington Democrats, this week joined close to 200 congressional colleagues in calling for executive action to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

In a letter sent to President Barack Obama, lawmakers called for an executive order banning federal contractors from engaging in employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. The move would effectively bar contractors from receiving federal government contracts unless they have an anti-discrimination policy in place that protects LGBT workers.

“An executive order covering LGBT employees would be in line with a bipartisan, decades-long commitment to eradicating taxpayer-funded discrimination in the workplace,” the letter read.

The letter was spearheaded by Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, both Democrats.

In addition to Murray and Cantwell, other co-signers included six of Washington’s 10 U.S. House members — all Democrats. None of the state’s four Republican representatives, including Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, signed the letter.

Murray and Cantwell are also among the co-sponsors of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would protect LGBT employees from discrimination under federal law. The bill passed the Senate last year.

Eric Florip

I'm the environment/transportation reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. Contact me at eric.florip@columbian.com or 360-735-4541.

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