Fulfilling a 2008 campaign promise, on July 21, 2014, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order banning workplace discrimination against millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees of the federal government , as well as federal contractors and sub-contractors providing services to the federal government.

The Executive Order makes it illegal to fire or harass employees of the federal government because of sexual orientation or gender identity, going so far as to explicitly provide employment protection for transgender employees of the federal government.  The Executive Order also prohibits discrimination by federal contractors and sub-contractors, which affects approximately 24,000 companies employing close to 30 million workers, or roughly one-fifth of U.S. workers.

Rather than draft a new Executive Order, President Obama simply added the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity to existing Executive Orders that protect federal employees and employees of federal contractors and sub-contractors from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.  Read the full text of the Executive Order signed by the President.

Surrounded by LGBT supporters, including Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, third from right, President Barack Obama signs executive orders to protect LGBT employees from federal workplace discrimination in the East Room of the White House Monday, July 21, 2014, in Washington. Obama’s executive orders signed Monday prohibit discrimination against gay and transgender workers in the federal government and its contracting agencies, without a new exemption that was requested by some religious organizations. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)