An executive order signed by President Clinton protects homosexual federal workers from job discrimination.

"Individuals should not be denied a job on the basis of something that has no relationship to their ability to perform their work," Clinton said in a statement accompanying the order Thursday.Gay and lesbian political activists heralded the move, which adds sexual orientation to the list of categories for which discrimination is illegal. The others are race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicaps and age.

Previously, the Clinton administration had instituted the policy agency-by-agency. Thursday's action ensures a uniform policy for civilian workers throughout the federal government.