Special Counsel Disregards Two Decades Of Law Protecting Federal Employees From Discrimination

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese made the
following statement today regarding statements by Special counsel Scott
Bloch, who manages the federal agency responsible for investigating
workplace discrimination. Bloch told a Senate hearing yesterday that he
doesn't have the authority to enforce a ban on discrimination based on
sexual orientation.

"Bloch is snubbing 20 years of bipartisan interpretation of the law. A
statute in place since the late '70's has protected federal
workers against discrimination based on sexual orientation. We are
deeply troubled that he continues to disregard this law.

"When a clear statement from President Bush bolsters Bloch's ability to
enforce this law, it becomes clear that Bloch is looking for any way he
can to ensure federal workers do not get equal employment protection.

"The federal workforce is struggling to attract workers. It's past time
for Bloch to recognize that a diverse workforce is what he needs. More
than 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies have these policies because
they're not just good for employees but good for business."

In April 2004, the White House released the following statement,
"Longstanding federal policy prohibits discrimination against federal
employees based on sexual orientation. … President Bush expects
federal agencies to enforce this policy and to ensure that all federal
employees are protected from unfair discrimination at work."

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