The Democratic aide said a push is necessary to keep progressive and gay voters engaged leading up to the 2012 elections. Some have pushed for Obama to finally endorse gay marriage as part of his campaign platform, and because that appears unlikely, the aide said ENDA could have provided a nice boost.
“This would have given the community something to latch on to in the meantime,” the aide said, adding that an executive order could have had the added effect of sending a strong signal in ongoing DOMA court cases.
Still, advocates note that they are not about to abandon Obama in the presidential campaign, and they universally agree that re-electing the president and growing the number of gay-rights supporters in Congress remains a top goal. But their politicking will not be limited to the November elections.
“You bet we will not stop pushing for protections for LGBT people, including an executive order,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
And Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the Wisconsin Democrat who is running for the Senate and would be the first openly gay Member of that chamber, agreed in a statement that “President Obama has advanced protections for the LGBT community significantly, but there’s no substitute for having a bill for the President to sign.”
“We have to focus on the importance of passing an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in Congress,” she said.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.