Obama to sign orders protecting gay employees

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama plans to sign executive orders prohibiting discrimination against gay and transgender workers in the federal government and its contracting agencies, without a new exemption for religious organizations.

Obama's action comes on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling in the Hobby Lobby case that allowed some religiously oriented businesses to opt out of the federal health care law's requirement for contraception coverage.

The White House said that ruling has no impact on non-discrimination policies in federal hiring and contracting.

The White House said Obama's action would amend two executive orders Monday at the White House. One will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protections for hiring among federal contractors. The second will protect federal workers from discrimination on gender identity.

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