Last night the LGBT activist group GetEQUAL took to the streets in front of the White House and staged a protest demanding that President Obama sign the Executive Order that would ban job discrimination against LGBT workers by businesses that hold contracts with the federal government.
Roughly a dozen members of GetEQUAL and the Maryland Light Brigade held panels with illuminated letters that spelled out “Sign ENDA EO” on the Ellipse and in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue.
“The State of the Union is coming up in two days and our hope would be the president would get themessage,” Heather Cronk, managing director of GetEQUAL, told the Washington
Blade. “He has the power to take action to end employment discrimination.”
Last April President Obama decided NOT to sign an executive order banning workplace discrimination of gay, lesbian and transgender federal contractors despite the fact that it has Presidential precedent when in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed an Executive Order Executive Order 11246 banning federal contractors from discrimination based on race, religion and gender.
Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work said that the White House rationale for not signing the EO and instead waiting for ENDA which has stayed stalled in Congress for over 20 years to pass was “weak,” “shallow,” “unpersuasive” and “embarrassing.” Paul Yandura, a gay former Clinton White House aide and a Democratic strategist, also criticized some gay leaders in addition to the president, saying that groups like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), “weren’t advocating on our behalf.”
“It was clear that the groups — and if you want to say it in positive way — the groups were trying to give the White House space to do the right thing. I would say they weren’t advocating on our behalf. I was told that everyone had agreed they were going to play an insider game. Well, I think we now as a community can see when you play an insider game, this is what you get.” Yandura said.