The White House announced that staff and visitors will be able to use a new gender-neutral restroom right next to the West Wing.
Valerie Jarrett, Senior Adviser to President Obama, announced in an editorial in The Advocate that the president is determined to lead by example. "We have closely examined our internal policies on everything from benefits, to restroom access, to how we invite people to events, to ensure that everyone who enters this building feels safe and fully respected," she said.
The announcement came a day after President Obama's executive order, that he signed on July 21, 2014, came into effect that requires federal contractors not to fire anyone based on their sexual orientation.
"This will effectively prevent any company that does business with the government from firing an employee based on who they are or who they love," Jarrett said.
The President and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party have equated discrimination against sexual orientation as the same for race. In Jarrett's editorial, she said the changes in federal rules are an important milestone for civil rights for the homosexual community.
"The billions of taxpayer dollars that federal contractors and subcontractors receive to supply goods and services for government agencies," Jarrett said, "will not be used to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, in addition to race, color, religion, national origin, disability and veteran status, which are already protected."
Jarrett said discrimination against gays should offend the "sanctity of our collective rights as Americans."
Citizen in Florida, Kentucky, and Texas are debating whether government agencies and businesses should be forced to provide gender-neutral restrooms in addition to restrooms only for men and women. Houston's mayor, who is a lesbian, tried to subpeona sermons from churches who opposed the city's gender-neutral ordinance.