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Obama to Sign Order Banning Federal Discrimination Against Gays

Image: Marchers carry a rainbow flag in the LA Pride Parade on June 8
Marchers carry a rainbow flag in the LA Pride Parade on June 8, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. The LA Pride Parade and weekend events this year are emphasizing transgender rights and issues. The annual LGBT pride parade begin in 1970, a year after the Stonewall riots, and historically attracts more than 400,000 spectators and participants. (David McNew / Getty Images file

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In a victory for gay rights activists, President Barack Obama plans to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation, a White House official confirms to NBC News.

Federal workers make up nearly one quarter of the country’s workforce.

“Following on his pledge for this to be a year of action to expand opportunity for all Americans, the President has directed his staff to prepare for his signature an Executive Order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” the official said. “The action would build upon existing protections, which generally prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. “

The announcement comes one day before Obama travels to New York for the Democratic National Committee's annual gay and lesbian gala fundraiser. LGBT donors have used previous fundraisers to press Obama to act to extend the discrimination protections to federal employees.

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