GetEQUAL Launches Campaign for Workplace Inclusion

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Photo courtesy of GetEQUAL; light panels courtesy of Maryland Light Brigade

Activists Take to the Streets to Show Congress They’re Serious About Winning LGBT Workplace Protections

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, GetEQUAL — a national social justice organization advocating for the full equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans — has launched a campaign calling on Congress to pass a federal law outlawing LGBT workplace discrimination.

Calling the campaign “Workplace INclusion: Winning LGBT Workplace Protections (WIN),” GetEQUAL is asking Congress to finally pass a federal law — one that has been languishing in Congress for 39 years — to bar employers from discriminating against prospective or current employees based solely on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The recently-reintroduced Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (HR 1755 and S 815) was first introduced on May 14, 1974, by Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY) as the Equality Act of 1974. After 39 years of fighting for federal LGBT workplace protections, GetEQUAL is kicking off the campaign with a week of action designed to draw attention to the need for these federal workplace protections.

“For LGBT Americans from California to Connecticut and from Alabama to Alaska, the need for federal workplace protections is clear,” said Heather Cronk, Co-Director of GetEQUAL. “We hear story after story after story of folks who are simply trying to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families — but who encounter harassment on the job, who are refused jobs because of who they are, or who face insurmountable options for promotion because of who they love. In America, anyone qualified for a job should be able to get and hold that job without fear of violence, harassment, or termination. We need Congress to act now!”

The “WIN” campaign kicked off today, leading to Tuesday, May 14 — the anniversary of Bella Abzug’s Equality Act of 1974, which was the first piece of pro-LGBT legislation in the United States. The first two actions of the campaign took place in Austin, Texas, and Washington, DC (photos below). In Austin, local activists took to the streets and blocked traffic near the State Capitol at 11th and Congress. In Washington, DC, local activists held light panels on the grounds of Congress, reading “PASS ENDA NOW.”

Additional actions and rallies will take place in various places across the country, both in an effort to educate the public about the need for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (also known as ENDA) and to pressure legislators to vote yes. The following events are planned for the week of action:

FLORIDA: Tuesday, May 14, at 3:30 p.m. ET at Senator Bill Nelson’s Tampa office — Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/462744457128693/ — Activists will deliver a birthday cake to Senator Nelson to commemorate ENDA’s 39th birthday, and will do so in 70s, 80s, and 90s clothing to show how long we’ve been waiting for workplace fairness!

MISSOURI: Tuesday, May 14, at Senator Blunt and Senator McCaskill’s St. Louis offices — Missourians for Equality will be delivering one-quarter of a pie to both Missouri Senators, representing the merely one-quarter of LGBT Missourians who are covered by existing city nondiscrimination ordinances, and advocating for a federal solution through ENDA to cover all LGBT Missourians.

NEVADA: Monday, May 13, at 11:00 a.m. PT at Senator Dean Heller’s Las Vegas office — LGBT Nevadans will meet with Senator Heller’s staff to talk with them about the need for federal workplace protections, and why his vote is key to making sure that all Nevadans are treated fairly and equally in the workplace.

NORTH CAROLINA: Saturday, May 11, from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon ET at U.S. Federal Courthouse — Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/234330496705369/ — Activists will rally for workplace fairness and will show the country that North Carolina stands with LGBT workers across the country for equality and fairness on the job!

OHIO: Plans in the works — will release details once they’re confirmed!

PENNSYLVANIA: Plans in the works — will release details once they’re confirmed!

TEXAS: Saturday, May 11, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. CT across from Precinct 3008 at Dallas County Courthouse — Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/555947997790658/ — As LGBT Texans count down the next three weeks until the end of the Texas legislative session, a statewide nondiscrimination bill, SB 237, languishes in committee. Activists will gather for a press conference, flyer distribution, and conversations with voters about the importance of contacting the Texas State Senators blocking the bill!

WASHINGTON, DC: Throughout the week, local activists will deliver signatures of ENDA supporters to offices of key Senators, along with stories of LGBT workplace discrimination.

There is incredibly broad national support for workplace protections for LGBT workers. A 2011 poll of likely 2012 voters found that 73% of Americans support these workplace protections, cutting across political ideology with 66% of Republicans supporting such workplace non-discrimination laws (http://tiny.cc/c1nsww).

Furthermore, the pathway to passage of a bill in the Senate is relatively clear. A public whip count managed by GetEQUAL shows 39 sponsors & cosponsors, 4 yes votes, 14 leaning yes votes, and 5 undecided votes — clearing the path for a filibuster-proof 60 votes (www.actonprinciples.org/enda-senate-113/).

GetEQUAL is a national grassroots social justice organization whose mission is to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and allies to take bold action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information, go to www.getequal.org. You can also follow GetEQUAL on Facebook at www.facebook.com/getequal or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/getequal.

[From a News Release]