State News

Gov. Evers' first executive order encourages opportunity for LGBTQ+ state employees

Gov. Tony Evers wasted no time upon being sworn into office to make his first executive order, establishing anti-discrimination policies within state agencies.

Image By: Thomas Yonash

Hours after being officially declared as governor, Tony Evers signed his first executive order requiring state agencies to develop and implement policies preventing discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Signed Monday, the order created standards within the hiring process via a contract which ensures government agencies recruit employees on the basis of merit alone. 

“Discrimination in any form is wrong, and through his actions today — signing his first executive order since taking office — Gov. Evers continues to demonstrate that he will fight day in and day out to uphold the Wisconsin values of fairness, justice and equality,” said Wendy Strout, Wisconsin state director of the Human Rights Campaign.

Wisconsin was one of 28 states without explicit non-discrimination protections in regard to gender identity and sexual orientation in the workplace. Many are encouraged by Evers’ first move, believing it will allow for a more safe, diversified and inclusive work space.

Megin McDonell, executive director of civil rights advocacy organization Fair Wisconsin, stated, “This Executive Order modernizes our state’s internal policies to make sure Wisconsin government employees are judged solely on their job performance, not who they are or who they love. Our state is at its strongest when we’re all free to work hard, earn a decent living and go about our lives without fear of discrimination.”

Although this order directly affects only those within state agencies, Alnisa Allgood, founder and executive director of Madison-based nonprofit Collaboration for Good, hopes it sets a trickle-down initiative for other work sectors. 

“Even if it is just for state agencies, it is an example and a precedent that people can point to in attempt to emulate more diverse work forces and boards,” Allgood said. “When you get a broad spectrum of people with opinions, it creates more creativity and innovation and solves more problems.”

On an even broader level, Jason Rae, president and CEO of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, sees the legislation as a change to the state as a whole. 

“It’s a new day in Wisconsin,” Rae said. “This simple action will have a tremendous impact in building a more welcoming and inclusive Wisconsin.”

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