President Clinton signed and announced an executive order that adds sexual orientation to a list of categories for which discrimination is illegal in federal civilian governmental agencies. The current list of categories includes race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, and sexual orientation.
Protection for gay and lesbian workers had already been issued at many governmental agencies, but not all. “Since early in President Clinton’s term, most Cabinet-level departments and agencies have added sexual orientation to their equal employment policies, but these policies were not uniformly administered. This executive order will remedy that situation,” said Human Rights Campaign Education Director Kim I. Mills. “Individuals should not be denied a job on the basis of something that has no relationship to their ability to perform their work,” said Clinton.
President Clinton’s Executive Order states the policy of his Administration but does not hold the power to enforce it. Clinton urged Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would grant all gay and lesbian citizens protection from job discrimination based on sexual orientation.