The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) has petitioned President Barack Obama to sign an executive order barring job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in federal contracting.
The petition can be found at the White House’s petition website wh.gov/9ALQ. The Hill reported on Sunday that leading national equality advocacy organizations plan to call on the president to sign the order.
TEP president Chris Sanders maintains Tennessee’s GLBT community has a particular interest in the president signing the order. “Our experience in Tennessee is worth highlighting as the national effort moves forward because the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County adopted a contractor non-discrimination ordinance in 2011 only to see it overridden by state law that same year," Sanders said. "We have little hope of achieving these protections at the state level and now our options at the local level are limited by state law. Progress at the federal level would help protect people in Tennessee who are employed by federal contractors.”
TEP’s petition presents a stark contrast to the many petitions at the White House petition site calling for secession, including one from Tennessee. Sanders said, “We believe in the word ‘United’ in ‘United States’ and in the promise of America for all of us. It is disappointing to see these expressions of reactionary separatism that recall the past. Our petition represents a commitment to work for a more perfect union in the best American tradition. The petitions calling for secession indicate that some of our neighbors are giving up on our country. We call them back to dialogue and the task of working together for the good of all.”
For more information about the Tennessee Equality Project, go to www.tnequalityproject.org.