White House Set To Meet With LGBT Activists

WASHINGTON -- The White House has scheduled a meeting Thursday with gay rights activists, to discuss moving forward on barring workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and providing benefits to same-sex couples.

According to a copy of the invitation obtained by The Huffington Post, the meeting will focus on the fallout from the Supreme Court's United States v. Windsor decision, which overturned a major portion of the law that barred federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

It will also address the White House's announcement on Monday that President Barack Obama has directed his staff to draft an executive order that would ban LGBT workplace discrimination among federal contractors.

The administration is set to release a report on its accomplishments in implementing benefits for same-sex couples post-Windsor, which Politico reports will likely come out Thursday.

According to a source with knowledge of Thursday's meeting, Social Security and veterans benefits are expected to be brought up as two areas where the administration has not been able to apply the Windsor ruling and needs legislation to make them accessible to all gay married couples regardless of where they live.

Elsewhere, LGBT rights will be front and center this week. Tuesday night, Obama is set to give remarks at a Democratic National Committee LGBT gala in New York City as part of LGBT Pride Month.

On the other side of the coin, Thursday will be the second annual March for Marriage, put together by the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage. Organizers hope thousands of people will show up to speak out against same-sex marriage.

Obama's announcement Monday about upcoming executive action came after years of pressure from LGBT advocates who said it was clear Congress wasn't going to pass the full Employment Non-Discrimination Act. That legislation would bar workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Although the Senate has passed the bill with bipartisan support, the GOP-controlled House hasn't even brought it up.

It's unlikely that the White House will give too many more details about what the anti-discrimination executive order will look like during Thursday's meeting, since it's expected officials are waiting to see how the Supreme Court will rule in the upcoming Hobby Lobby case. The court could rule that private businesses can claim a religious exemption and opt out of the Obamacare contraception mandate; many gay rights advocates worry that such a ruling could allow private businesses to discriminate against LGBT individuals on religious grounds as well.

The White House confirmed the meeting is taking place but did not give further details.

This story has been updated to note that the White House confirmed the meeting is happening.



The White House