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WASHINGTON -- President Obama plans to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation, administration officials said Monday.

The order will mirror a Senate bill designed to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers from employment discrimination, a proposal that had languished in the House.

Federal law already bans discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, and national origin.

Administration officials said Obama has directed his staff to prepare an executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The officials, requesting anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said they did not know when the paperwork would be ready for Obama's signature.

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