What the President Should Be Doing on Presidents’ Day

The new advocacy group, Freedom to Work, has a great op-ed piece on Huffingtonpost Gay Voices entitled We Can’t Wait: How Obama Can Stop Discrimination Now that adds to the growing calls from gay advocacy groups for President Obama to sign the ENDA executive order: “With just the stroke of his pen, President Obama can add enforceable LGBT workplace protections to more than 16 million American jobs. The order will give the U.S. Labor Department strong enforcement powers at 22 percent of all jobs in America to seek back-wages and reinstatement for LGBT workers who are fired for discriminatory reasons.”  The sad fact of the matter is that in 29 states across America you can still be fired from your job simply because you are gay.

The Departments of Labor and Justice have already given the OK to amend existing Executive Order 11246 to include sexual orientation and gender identity protections. The measure has apparently been sitting on Obama’s desk waiting for his signature but the president continues to delay signing it. Change.org has set up a petition seeking 150,000 signatures and requesting that the president end the delay and sign the executive order now. And in addition, there are definitely other things President Obama could and SHOULD be doing as well. The president has been signing dozens of progressive executive orders concerning immigration that appeal to the Latino community and he should absolutely extend some of that fierce advocacy to the LGBT community. Besides the ENDA executive order Obama should also issue an executive order mandating the inclusion of sexual orientation protections under the military’s non-discrimination policy and he should ABSOLUTELY end his pathetic “evolution” on the issue of equality and support marriage equality for gay and lesbian Americans. And he should do it TODAY!