An LGBT rights group is protesting President Obama's failure to enact LGBT workplace protections.
Civil rights organization GetEQUAL is staging a demonstration on the south side of the White House tonight at 6 PM Eastern Time, just two days before Obama's annual State of the Union Address during which he may address laws he wants passed in his second term in a speech given directly to both houses of the US legislature.
GetEQUAL is demanding Obama sign an executive order to enact the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit discrimination by employers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. As part of his first presidential campaign, Obama pledged to extend workplace protections to all LGBT individuals employed by federal contractors.
According to GetEQUAL, Obama 'has yet to deliver any policy to protect these vulnerable employees, who can be fired in over half the states in the country based simply on their sexual identity, and 39 states based on their gender identity or expression.'
President Obama could offer these protections today to 16 million people with the stroke of a pen by signing an Executive Order which would protect anyone employed by a contractor who receives over $10,000/year in federal funds.'
As we approach the first State of the Union for the president’s second and final term, GetEQUAL is reminding the president to keep the promises he made that will not only help boost our suffering economy but protect millions of workers and families.'
Last June Obama called on Congress to pass a fully inclusive ENDA, which it failed to do, owing to lack of support from both parties. The bill's failure to pass in Congress has some advocates believing the only route is for Obama to sign an executive order. The White House has repeatedly made reference to a preference for a legislative approach as opposed to administrative action. In an interview with the Washington Blade, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the legislative approach to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal should be “a model for the way to approach these issues.”
In Obama's 2010 State of the Union address, he foreshadowed the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', the military's anti-gay policy, by promising to 'work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are'.
The congressional bill to repeal DADT was signed into effect the following year.