GetEQUAL ENDA protest on Capitol Hill
Gay rights supporters held protests around the country on Thursday, demanding passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Dozens gathered in Washington DC at noon for a rally organized by activist group GetEqual. At the same time, GetEqual says around a hundred supporters protested at the San Francisco office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The group’s co-founder Robin McGehee said time is running out to get the ball rolling on ENDA.
McGehee: “The reality is, is if you look at the legislative calendar, there’s only 45 full voting days, and there’s an emergency that we have. We have people that are going to be running for re-election, and who are not going to want to touch ‘controversial’ legislation and it’s up to us to hold them accountable for the promises that we’ve already been given.”
Also today on Thursday, 13 activists were arrested in Chicago for protesting in the district office of Illinois Senator and Democratic Party Whip Dick Durbin. That action was not organized by GetEqual, but by the group Chicago Harvey Milk Week of Action. Even though Durbin is a senate co-sponsor of the measure, protesters said he’s done little else to support it.
McGehee says activists need to remind lawmakers of the importance of ENDA among all legislation, not just bills that deal with gay rights.
McGehee: “Not only has it taken a back seat to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but it took a back seat to health care, it takes a back seat to financial reform, it takes a back seat to any other issue that is deemed more important by the House and Senate.”
GetEqual said in a statement about the protests “We’ve heard all we can stand to hear from leaders in Congress. … Now is the time to stop the talking and start the voting.”