FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, April 23, 2012
Hundreds Respond to Organization’s Call for Local Actions at OFA Offices
Nearly 1000 LGBT and Allied Americans Willing to Lobby Obama Campaign Offices for Executive Order Signature
WASHINGTON, DC — Late last week, GetEQUAL — an LGBT civil rights organization committed to using direct action and nonviolent civil disobedience to advance LGBT equality — asked for volunteers to go to their local Obama for America (OFA) campaign office and ask the campaign staff to request that their candidate, President Barack Obama, sign an Executive Order barring federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
By Monday morning, nearly 1000 people had responded to that call — offering to go to their local OFA campaign office to talk with staff and volunteers there about why LGBT Americans can’t wait for workplace protections. Volunteers making office visits will be carrying symbolic objects with them — including ballpoint pens to encourage the President to sign the Executive Order, as well as plastic backbones to ask him to show leadership in the face of pressure to avoid pro-LGBT actions in an election year. Many of those volunteering to go to OFA offices were volunteers in Obama’s 2008 campaign, and are going back to the offices where they volunteered in order to push the president to act.
GetEQUAL Managing Director Heather Cronk said, “Honestly, we were stunned at the response to this call for volunteers. We thought that a hundred people might respond — this kind of response is a clear call to the President that LGBT Americans are looking for his leadership on this issue. With his campaign slogan — ‘We Can’t Wait’ — on the tips of their tongues, nearly one thousand advocates are fanning out to OFA offices across the country to ask President Obama to lead the way toward ending workplace discrimination by ensuring that government money is not used to fuel LGBT discrimination.”
Organizations from the Human Rights Campaign to the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force to the Center for American Progress have all urged President Obama to sign such an Executive Order immediately in order to provide workplace protections for approximately 26 million Americans who work for federal contractors. GetEQUAL has been ratcheting up the pressure on the White House over the past few weeks, and has plans to continue applying pressure this summer. As it becomes clearer and clearer that the only hope for progress is via executive pen in light of a stalled and gridlocked Congress, LGBT advocates are calling on President Obama to lead the way on workplace fairness.
This Executive Order has been embraced by The Washington Post, The New York Times, 72 Members of Congress, LGBT organizations, allied progressive organizations, and civil rights organizations. Recent polling indicates that 73% of likely 2012 voters support such executive action, and recent reports indicate that both the Department of Justice and the Department of Labor have approved language for such an order. Executive Order 11246 prohibits discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin and was signed in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson. This Executive Order has been extraordinarily durable, resisting challenge by all branches of government for over 45 years.
GetEQUAL is a national, direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBT community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information on GetEQUAL, please visit: http://www.getequal.org. You can follow GetEQUAL on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/getequal, on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/GetEQUAL, or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/getequal.