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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 6, 1998


I am gratified that the House has defeated an attempt to overturn my Executive Order providing a uniform policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal civilian workforce.

This vote reflected the values of our nation. The American people believe in fairness, not discrimination, and the Hefley amendment would have legitimized government sponsored discrimination against its own citizens based on their sexual orientation.

It has always been the practice of this Administration to prohibit employment discrimination in the federal civilian workforce based on sexual orientation. Most federal agencies and departments have taken actions to memorialize that policy. The Executive Order does no more than make that policy uniform across the federal government. It does not authorize affirmative action, or preferences, or special rights for anyone.

The Executive Order reflects this Administration's firm commitment that the federal government make employment related decisions in the civilian workforce based on individual ability and not on sexual orientation.