On Monday, the White House announced a new executive order that will bar federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This order culminates years of advocacy from those on the front lines of the gay rights struggle to get this president to use the force of his office to reduce discriminatory conditions and processes for LGBTQ people. It is also clear that this administrative shift is part of his very explicit attempt to begin crafting his legacy as the outgoing president.
Alongside the Affordable Care Act, My Brother’s Keeper and federal support for robust immigration reform, President Obama continues to roll out a set of initiatives that firmly appeal to the demographics most responsible for his ascent to the White House. Even though I celebrate this signal move on behalf of the Obama administration and urge that the U.S. Congress follow suit and pass federal legislation outlawing discrimination against LGBTQ people, I remain unclear about how to judge the legacy that Obama is building with respect to solidly liberal issues.