GetEQUAL Florida and Students Working for Equal Rights (S.W.E.R.) plan to protest President Barack Obama during his visit to South Beach on Tuesday afternoon.
The groups are angry that Obama hasn't signed an executive order ending workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
Here's the news release:
LGBT and Allied Groups Protest Obama Fundraiser Over Lack of Executive Action for Equality
MIAMI, FL -- As preparations are underway for a star-studded
fundraiser for President Obama this evening in Miami Beach, activists are preparing to protest the event in order to call attention to the desperate need for executive action on workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
Since the transition process began following Election Day in 2008, LGBT advocates have been calling on President Obama to follow in the footsteps of past presidents by using executive action to stem the very real problem of discrimination in the workplace targeting LGBT Americans. Past presidents have used Executive Orders to ban discrimination among military contractors and federal contractors, leading the way for Congress to then tackle employment discrimination
at the federal level. Currently, there are no federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Since 1974, legislation has been introduced to address LGBT workplace discrimination, but federal legislation has failed to move through Congress ever since then (www.getequal.org/endatimeline). In mid-April, the White House announced that President Obama would not be signing an Executive Order barring LGBT workplace discrimination "at
this time" (http://www.metroweekly.com/poliglot/2012/04/breaking-white-house-holds-high-level-meeting-with.html),
but activists and donors have continued to pressure the White House to reconsider that position -- especially now that the Obama Administration has announced administrative relief for young undocumented immigrants, many of whom also identify as LGBT.
Today's protest of the Obama fundraiser includes advocates from the LGBT and the immigration movements who are concerned that the Obama Administration is not taking workplace discrimination seriously. Many of the activists involved are young people who are afraid that there will be no opportunity for them to find work without having to go back
into the closet; many others are LGBT undocumented youth who are thrilled with the Obama Administration's action on immigration a week ago but, once they receive work permits, want to know that they will not experience discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
"For me -- as a gay, undocumented young person -- the president's announcement about administrative relief for DREAMers is fantastic...but getting a work permit is just the first step for me," said Felipe Matos, field director for GetEQUAL. "Once I get a work permit, I need assurance that I won't be harassed or fired based on my sexual orientation -- and President Obama has a decision to make today about whether he will let me fully live the American dream. I hope President Obama is moved today to put his pen to paper and to sign
this Executive Order today."
"As a young, undocumented immigrant to the United States, I dreamed of the day that I would be able to fully contribute to this country," said Esteban Roncacio, organizer with Students Working for Equal Rights (S.W.E.R.). "When President Obama announced his shift in immigration policy from the White House Rose Garden, my heart leapt -- but my LGBT friends are still not able to fully celebrate. I'm committed to working and organizing until everyone in this country has the opportunity to fully participate in and fully contribute to their American dream."
While a federal law that would protect LGBT workers from
discrimination across the country -- the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) -- languishes in Congress, President Obama could issue an Executive Order today to protect American workers from discrimination, following in the footsteps of Presidents Franklin Roosevelt (E.O. 8802), Dwight Eisenhower (E.O. 10479), and Lyndon Johnson (E.O.
11246). President Obama has been under pressure from LGBT advocates and donors for the past few months, who are demanding that he sign an Executive Order to protect employees of federal contractors from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, which would both protect the 26 million Americans who work for federal contractors and ensure that taxpayer dollars are not
- Who: GetEQUAL Florida and Students Working for Equal Rights (S.W.E.R.)
- What: President Obama fundraiser
- Where: 1700 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
- When: Tuesday at 5:30 PM