ENDA passed the Senate! Will President Obama lead?
The passage of ENDA in the Senate is a tremendous symbolic victory for the LGBTQ community, though we have paid a high price for its passage. The version of the bill that passed the Senate contains broad religious exemptions -- meaning that people like Carla Hale, fired from a Catholic school after mentioning her partner in her mother’s obituary, still would not have workplace protections.In an op-ed this week, President Obama has said that firing people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is “offensive” and “wrong.” We completely agree.
That’s why we’re again calling on President Obama to show leadership on this issue, and to sign an Executive Order that would make it illegal for any company contracting with the federal government to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
This Executive Order was promised to us while Barack Obama was campaigning for the office of president back in 2008, and has been sitting on his desk without his signature for over a year. As we continue to face a monumentally uphill battle in the House of Representatives to get ENDA passed, now is the moment for President Obama to show leadership, and protect nearly one-quarter of the American workforce from discrimination.
Every day, millions of LGBTQ Americans live in the workplace closet. Every time someone like Carla Hale is fired, our country is weakened. LGBTQ workplace discrimination compromises our country’s values, and President Obama has a real opportunity to show the House of Representatives that he means business about ending these discriminatory practices.
As President Obama said in his 2012 re-election campaign, “We can’t wait!” Now is the time for the president to put his pen to paper and to sign the federal contractor Executive Order!
The time is now,
Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez and Heather Cronk