Wash Post blasts Obama decision on LGBT Exec Order: “no principled reason”

The fallout continues.

Today, there is really strong editorial from the Washington Post on last week’s decision by the Obama administration to say no to the LGBT executive order:

WHITE HOUSE press secretary Jay Carney spent a good chunk of his time during a briefing last week trying to explain why President Obama has declined to issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

Mr. Carney struggled for some eight minutes but was unable to give a satisfactory answer. That’s understandable, because there is no principled reason for refusing to extend such workplace protections to millions of Americans.

There is “no principled reason.” You can watch Carney’s eight minute struggle here.

And, the Post’s editorial also disabuses the White House talking point about working to pass ENDA instead:

The president, Mr. Carney argued, “is committed to lasting and comprehensive non-discrimination protections,” but those protections would be best achieved through a “legislative solution,” such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA, which would extend prohibitions against sexual orientation discrimination to all but the smallest private-sector employers, is a worthy piece of legislation, but its passage appears remote and likely will remain so if conservatives control either chamber of Congress or if the GOP candidate captures the White House in November.

Focusing on the grand gains achieved through legislation also ignores the important role played by executive orders and other administrative acts in paving the way for change. Mr. Carney, for example, pointed to the 2010 repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as a model of legislative achievement, but he failed to note that independent presidential action preceded the repeal. Before Congress voted to ditch the wrongheaded policy that prevented openly gay men or lesbians from serving in the military, the president took steps on his own to require, for example, review by higher-level officers before a service member could be ousted.

The president played a pivotal role in the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and also deserves credit for refusing to defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. He should again seize the mantle of leadership by issuing an executive order that prohibits the federal government from doing business with contractors that fail to guarantee basic fairness to their LGBT employees.

This still makes no sense, beyond the fact that is was a misguided political calculation.

I hope that Valerie Jarrett and Cecilia Muñoz, who convened last week’s meeting with LGBT advocates and a couple of lobbyists, are working on a solution. Jim Messina should be concerned, too. (He mostly worries about collecting LGBT money for the campaign.) This was a no-brainer — and it’s clear from the editorials and commentary from the traditional media that no one is buying the White House spin. Yes, it’s become an ongoing problem. Didn’t have to be. Shouldn’t have been in the first place. It does make one wonder who actually makes these inept decisions.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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