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Obama's decision on gay discrimination ban sparks outrage

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The White House says President Obama does not plan to issue an executive order banning discrimination against gay federal contractors.

(Photo: Associated Press)

This news comes despite calls for the legislation from lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender groups, who blame Congress for stalling on the bill.

The story was first reported by Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner who tells ABC7 the White House invited several gay rights groups to a meeting Wednesday with the president’s Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and the, openly gay, Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry.

During that meeting, it was clarified that an executive order banning discrimination against gay contractors was not happening at this time.

For many activists, the decision came as a surprise, sparking outrage among many gay right groups, including the Human Right Campaign - one of the president’s biggest supporters.

“It's pretty simple. You shouldn't be using federal taxpayer dollars for discrimination,” said Brian Moulton, Legal Director of the Human Rights Campaign.

A leading activist called the decision a “mistake” and a “political calculation.”

But the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney defended the decision.

“I think the presidents' record on LBGT issues speaks volumes about his commitment to securing equal rights for LBGT Americans,” Carney said.

Drawing from comparisons to the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, Carney says the president wants to achieve a broad and comprehensive legislative victory by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act through Congress.

But activists say, with a Republican-controlled House, it’s highly unlikely.

“There's really no explanation for why when the admin and president are on the record supporting the employment non-discrimination act, why they wouldn't take this step,” said Chris Geidner, Metro Weekly Senior Political Editor.

Political analysts suspect there’s more at play behind the scenes at the White House.

“Basically culture issues make them very, very anxious even though they're happily calling gay fundraisers and hitting up the gay community for campaign cash,” said Joe Williams, POLITICO’s White House reporter. “That is sort of implicit deal they're making with this constituency. Show us some support, some patience we'll get there.”

There’s also mounting pressure on the president to “evolve already” on same-sex marriage.

Some gay activists and leading Democrats want marriage equality added to the national party platform, which would put President Obama in an awkward position.

Public opinion polls show the a majority of Americans support gay marriage, but some Democrats worry it could become a distraction that will cost the president votes in November.

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