What does the federal
The latest version of the law, which among other things provides grants to agencies that deal with victims of sexual assaults, has a nondiscrimination provision. It says that recipients may not discriminate in their hiring on the basis of "actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability." The Justice Department recently released a briefing paper on implementation of the law.
There is a limited exception for necessary “sex-specific programming.” Also, religious agencies, consistent with the Religion Freedom Restoration Act, may prefer members of their own faith in hiring. But even religious recipients may not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. In that sense there will be more protection for gay and lesbian employees and job applicants than there would be under the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act that has been languishing in
For gay rights advocates, the rules for implementing the Violence Against Women Act model what they believe Congress should do when it gets around to outlawing employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. But they also point to something President
Obama has demonstrated that he is willing to act unilaterally to protect women in the workplace. Recently he announced that he would prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their pay with one another. He also is directing the Labor Department to adopt require contractors to provide compensation data based on sex and race. Gay rights supporters ask: Why couldn't he do the same to prohibit contractors from discriminating against gays and lesbians?
It's a good question.