In a statement issued the same day that he signed the order, President Clinton said,
The order applies to civilian employees of the American military, but uniformed members of the armed forces are excluded from protection, being under the Don't ask, don't tell policy issued by Clinton in 1993. Furthermore, as Clinton's statement makes clear, an executive order cannot expand existing legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, so federal employees cannot appeal claims of discrimination to the EEOC. However, they can file complaints under the grievance procedure of the agency they work for, and under certain conditions may appeal their claims to the Merit Systems Protection Board or the Office of Special Counsel.
The issuance of the order gave rise to controversy. Opponents in Congress claimed that it would provide "special privileges" and "special breaks for special interests," and the conservative Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution on June 11, 1998, asking the President to rescind the order, demanding that Congress nullify it if he did not do so. However, according to the Equal Opportunity Commission,
Executive Order 13087--Further amendment to Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government
Jun 01, 1998; May 28, 1998 By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and in order to...