Rep. Lowenthal and Sen. Markey Lead Coalition Asking President Obama To Extend LGBT Protections To All Federally Funded Contractors

June 8, 2015
Press Release

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today joined with Senator Edward Markey (MA) and nearly 60 other Members of Congress in sending a letter to President Barack Obama calling for further executive action to ensure that federal funds are not used to subsidize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) discrimination either in the United States or abroad.

"To promote our fundamental values of equality, equity, and diversity, we cannot go half way at home and we certainly cannot halt the extension of these values at our border," Congressman Lowenthal said.  "Our nation has what I see as a major role in defending the innate rights of all human beings across the globe—including the LGBT community—to live, love, and prosper."

The letter, signed by 13 U.S. Senators including Sen. Markey and 48 Members of Congress including Congressman Lowenthal, thanks the President for previous actions and leadership to promote the human rights of LGBT individuals, singling out the Administration's recent step of appointing Randy Berry as the U.S. State Department's first-ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons.

The letter also highlights the President's July 21, 2014 Executive Order to protect against LGBT employment discrimination by contractors doing business with the federal government, but points out that the order did not go far enough as it does not apply to federal contractors hiring and doing business abroad. In addition, the order does not prohibit those receiving U.S. federal funds from engaging in marketplace discrimination (e.g., refusal of goods and services) against LGBT customers or suppliers.

The letter asks the President to see that clear, consistent, and robust policies are enacted across the more than 20 agencies disbursing U.S. foreign assistance funds throughout the world to ensure non-discriminatory access to the benefits of these agencies' programs and services.

"We encourage you to make this an urgent, Administration-wide priority and coordinate across agencies to ensure a broad non-discrimination policy is implemented before the end of your Administration's tenure," the letter reads.

"In doing so, this would ensure LGBT people have access to the full range of services offered by U.S.-funded programs and would guarantee our foreign aid dollars are aligned with the values of promoting the human rights of marginalized people globally."

Click here to read the entire letter.

In addition to Sen. Markey and Congressman Lowenthal, the following Senators and Congress Members signed the letter:

U.S. Senators: Tammy Baldwin, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Christopher Coons, Richard Durbin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mazie Hirono, Jeffrey Merkley, Patty Murray, Jeanne Shaheen, Sheldon Whitehouse, Ron Wyden.



Members of Congress: Ami Bera, Earl Blumenauer, Michael Capuano, David Cicilline, Judy Chu, Gerald Connolly, Danny Davis, Susan Davis, Theodore Deutch, Keith Ellison, Eliot Engel, Anna Eshoo, Elizabeth Esty, Ruben Gallego, Luis Gutiérrez, Alcee Hastings, Jared Huffman, Steve Israel, Sheila Jackson Lee, William Keating, Derek Kilmer, Barbara Lee, John Lewis, Carolyn Maloney, Jim McDermott, Patrick Murphy, Jerrold Nadler, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Scott Peters, Mark Pocan, Jared Polis, Charles Rangel, Kathleen Rice, Bobby Rush, Jan Schakowsky, Adam Schiff, Robert Scott, José E. Serrano, Brad Sherman, Eric Swalwell, Mark Takano, Niki Tsongas, Chris Van Hollen, Juan Vargas, Nydia Velázquez, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Frederica Wilson.