Barack Obama may have been the first sitting American president to announce his personal support of gay marriage. He may have repealed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and allowed gay citizens to serve openly in the armed forces. He may have been the first president to appoint a Transgendered person to a government post. Yet, some LGBT activists don't think he's gone far enough. Two LGBT groups, GetEQUAL Florida and Students Working for Equal Rights, plan to picket Obama's stop tonight at the Fillmore Miami Beach to demand the president enacts federal workplace protections for gay citizens.
"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," reads a press release from GetEQUAL Florida. "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."
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been introduced in almost every Congress since 1994, but has never passed.
The bill would prohibit non-religious companies with more than 15 employees from discriminating employees on the basis of sexual orientation. In 2007, gender identity, intended to protect transgendered citizens from employment discrimination, was added, but shortly thereafter removed. Because the fight for equal rights apparently is not always actually equal. The act, in any form, has never passed.
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Some groups feel President Obama should issue an executive order prohibiting employment discrimination among companies that receive federal contracts. The groups are seeking protection on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Obama administration has said that they do not intend to issue an executive order along these lines "at this time."