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Gays hit State of the Union, feel left out of Obama's fight for equality

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama,Gay Marriage,Gay rights,State of the Union

A leading gay rights group lashed out at President Obama's State of the Union address because he again failed to fulfill a six-year-old promise to sign an executive order outlawing sexual discrimination against gays and lesbians by federal contractors.

“As CEO of the largest workforce in the country -- the federal government -- it is incumbent upon President Obama to ensure that all Americans are able to benefit from his executive action; the refusal to do so would mean that the president is actively choosing to permit discrimination against LGBT workers,” said Heather Cronk, co-director of GetEQUAL, an activist group that promotes gay rights.

She said that Obama should have added the discrimination ban to his last-minute executive order elevating the minimum wage of federal contractors to over $10.

"I'm thrilled that President Obama is raising the minimum wage for federal contractors, finally leading by example and taking concrete steps to help address income inequality. However, I'm disappointed, saddened, and offended that the president is coming into my community — Prince George's County, Maryland — to announce this change at the same time that he continues to refuse to take similar executive action to end discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity by federal contractors.”

Obama is to announce his wage hike at a Costco in Prince Georges County in Maryland today. Costco executives support a minimum wage boost, believing it increases productivity and reduces turnover.

In advance of Obama's Tuesday night speech, GetEQUAL said that Obama's symbolism supporting gays needs to be backed with action.

“Though gay NBA basketball player Jason Collins has been invited by President Obama to attend the State of the Union address, this invitation doesn’t change the fact that President Obama still refuses to sign an executive order that could improve the lives of millions of LGBTQ workers. Each day that the president fails to take action, millions in our community fear losing their jobs simply because of who they are or who they love, at the same time that the federal government pays billions of dollars in federal contracts.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.