Friday, May 17, 2013

President Obama should issue XO prohibiting contractor discrmination; setting an example for the rest of the world


Could an executive order from the President forbidding any federal contractor discrimination based on sexual orientation pave the way, in practical terms, to Congress’s being willing to pass ENDA (the Employment N on-Discrimination Act), introduced in 1993.
   
So suggests Jeffrey Marburg-Goodman on p. A17 of the Friday Washington Post.  The title in print is “Signing on to employment equality”.  Online, it’s more specific: “An executive order could end LGBT discrimination in contracts”, link here
  
Wouldn’t the official repeal of the military “don’t ask don’t tell” in 2011 put practical pressure on the system to end civilian employment discrimination?  We’ve covered he history of security clearances (especially my own) here before.  (The CIA has been OK with openly gay enployees since the early 1990s -- as long as it's "open".)   In practice, in commercial settings with mainframe information technology , I never experienced any real discrimination after 1974.  As an individual contributor, management was most concerned with whether one did his job,  Even in “conservative” Dallas in the1980s working for a credit reporting company during the height of the AIDS epidemic publicity, I encountered no problems.  I  had no direct problems as a  civilian employee working for USLICO, a life insurance company that catered to military officers in the 1990s.  (I wonder how USAA was then.)  Private industry, in my experience, tended to embrace diversity, particularly in Minneapolis after USLICO was bought by NWNL which became ReliaStar, and then ING.  ReliaStar had public diversity meetings within the company.
  
There have existed libertarian philosophical arguments against anti-discrimination ordinances, some of them publicized by GLIL (Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty) in the 1990s, in the newsletter “The Quill” and in press releases (especially an unfortunate one that I recall in 1996).  For example, Hooter’s might be jealous of its aggressively heterosexual image.  On the other hand, it’s common these days to find heterosexuals (men and women) bartending in gay establishments. 
   
Wouldn’t the lifting of the military ban put a lot of psychological pressure on the Boy Scouts?  Maybe it has, but there are residual problems, to be sure.  In the 1980s, the BSA actually employed mainframe programmer-analysts and showed up at jobs fairs in Dallas.  I didn’t bite.
    

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