Target: President Obama
Goal: Ask Obama to sign an executive order protecting the LGBT community from workplace discrimination
The battle for LGBT protection in the workplace has been going on for years, and with the reelection of President Obama and shifting views on gay rights, advocates are hoping the time for winning that battle is now. Most Americans are unaware of the fact that qualified, hardworking individuals are denied job opportunities, fired or otherwise discriminated against just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. There is no federal law that consistently protects LGBT individuals from employment discrimination. As a result, LGBT people face serious discrimination in employment, including being fired, being denied a promotion, and experiencing harassment on the job. Recent polls also showed that 90 percent of Americans falsely believe that LGBT employment discrimination is already illegal.
A key component to furthering progress for the LGBT community is calling on President Obama to issue an executive order that requires companies to have LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination policies for federal contractors. There has been this type of requirement for race, gender and religion since it was first initiated by the Truman administration.
The movement calling for the order was gaining much attention in the spring of 2012. In April, 72 members of Congress called on the president to sign it, as well as a handful of allied groups. The President did not issue the order, perhaps out of fear for doing so during an election year. With the President’s victory, activists are hopeful he will feel less constrained by political pressure from conservatives.
Tico Almeida, executive director of Freedom to Work, a group working for LGBT non-discrimination protection in the workplace, says, “We can push forward strongly on the freedom to marry and freedom to work, and with the exception of the professional anti-equality types, the mainline conservatives will mostly remain quiet.”
The executive order is similar in its goal to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that would bar job bias. Although more limited because it only applies to federal contractors, many believe the executive order would both extend important workplace protections to millions of Americans, while at the same time laying a strong foundation for Congressional passage of the ENDA.
Ask President Obama to honor his commitment to LGBT rights and sign this important executive order.
Dear President Obama,
By coming out last spring in support of gay marriage, your presidency represents true hope for the LGBT community. As you saw in last year’s election, the support of this community helped realize your victory. With poll numbers showing Americans are rapidly changing their views on gay rights, and several gay marriage ballot victories in 2012, we know the attitudes in this nation are changing. Please keep your promise to the LGBT community and protect their rights as workers.
It is not only within your power to issue the Executive Order protecting the labor rights of LGBT workers, but it is an important step in showing the country that it is time for true, full equality. Do not ignore the LGBT community now that you have been reelected. Do the right thing, and exercise the type of leadership that reflects your values.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ian S