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Jul 21, 2014 2:31 PM by Associated Press

Obama gives protection to gay, transgender workers

WASHINGTON (AP) - Gay and transgender people who work for the federal government and its contracting agencies now have some new employment protections.

President Barack Obama today amended two executive orders, to ban discrimination against those workers. He said it's unacceptable that being gay is still a firing offense in most places in the United States.

The fight over a gay discrimination ban for private employers has become embroiled in a dispute over whether religious groups should get an exemption.

And ever since Obama announced that he would take executive action, he's faced pressure from opposing sides on whether to allow that exemption in the case of government contractors. He decided to maintain a provision that allows religious groups with federal contracts to hire and fire based upon religious identity, but not give them any exception to consider sexual orientation or gender identity.

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