Groups have praised Barack Obama for today signing an Executive Order banning anti-gay workplace discrimination.

Earlier today the US President signed the order in a White House ceremony, banning discrimination against LGBT people by federal contractors, amending two existing anti-sexism orders to protect gender identity and sexuality.

Greg Nevins of Lambda Legal said: “We applaud the Obama administration for taking this important step towards protecting LGBT employees of federal contractors.

“Like many presidents before him, President Obama is taking action to ensure that taxpayer money is not wasted on workplace discrimination or harassment.”

“This is a tremendous step forward because so many workers live in states without effective legal protections and the federal employment protections for LGBT workers are not explicit.

“This executive order will ensure that there are at least some workplaces in every state with explicit, legally binding protections for LGBT Americans.”

Andre Banks of All Out said: “In a single, bold action, President Obama has thrown open the doors of opportunity for millions of lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees.

“The executive orders set a powerful statement for similar policies at home and abroad.

“Today, the President has stood up for the powerful and proven idea that employment protections are good business and good policy — without loopholes and compromises that create opportunities to discriminate against a person because of who they are or whom they love.

“In a majority of US states and in most countries around the world, you can be fired for being lesbian, gay, bi or transgender.

“But when leaders like Obama take unequivocal steps to ensure more people are treated equally under the law in the face of powerful opposition, it has the power to inspire new and better employment protections on the national and global stages.”

HRC President Chad Griffin said: “With this action, President Obama has cemented his legacy as a transformative leader.

“Consistently, this administration has taken unprecedented and historic executive actions to advance LGBT equality in this country and around the world.

“The focus now shifts to the House of Representatives, where the Employment Non-Discrimination Act must be brought to a vote by the House leadership.

“A bipartisan coalition of Americans is standing behind LGBT equality, a bipartisan coalition of our elected leaders should be doing the same.”