We thank Senators Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Carl Levin (D-MI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Russell Feingold (D-WI), and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) for their co-sponsorship of the bill in the Senate
The bill seeks to address misinterpretations of law by Special Counsel Scott Bloch. Previous Special Counsels as well as the current and previous Directors of the Office of Personnel Management have held that 5 USC 2302(b)(10) protects employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, Mr. Bloch announced in 2004 that his personal reading of the statute indicated that it only protects employees for discrimination based on sexual conduct, not their orientation or status.
The Clarification of Federal Employment Protections Act would affirm that employees are protected from sexual orientation discrimination by 5 USC 2302(b)(10) and details the protection under 5 USC 2302(b)(1) to avoid any future misinterpretation.
Senator Akaka, in introducing this bill stated: "One Administration official's personal interpretation of the law cannot be permitted to undermine the merit system or the rights and protections of federal workers. Congress must act to guarantee protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation provided to federal employees and applicants for federal employment,".
Leonard Hirsch, President of Federal GLOBE in thanking Senator Akaka, stated: “The underlying law has been understood by most since 1980. However, the clarity of this bill provides a consistent basis for developing strong and effective non-discrimination policies, procedures, and training in all federal departments and agencies.”