Both Obama and members of Congress know that this is an urgent need. With recent research on poverty among LGBT Americans pointing to serious and disproportionate effects of the lack of workplace protections, both the executive and legislative branches hold responsibility for solving this problem once and for all, right now.
When campaigning for president in 2008, Obama promised to sign such an executive order should he be elected to the office of president. And members of Congress are looking to the president for his leadership, even as they prepare to vote on ENDA — 37 senators and 110 representatives are waiting on the president’s leadership to set the stage for passage of a federal law.
Equality for all Americans depends on our elected leaders moving from words to action. We’re calling on Obama to sign a federal contractor executive order regarding LGBT workplace discrimination, and we’re calling on Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. As Obama’s re-election campaign so truthfully stated, we can’t wait!
Liz Abzug is the founder/president of Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, professor of urban studies and women’s leadership at Barnard College and Columbia University, and daughter of former Rep. Bella Abzug, the first author of LGBT nondiscrimination legislation. Heather Cronk is the co-director of GetEQUAL.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.