Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Obama Speech Avoids Gay Issues


Last night it appeared that President Obama who is dealing with a 37% approval rate stayed clear of our LGBT issues in his State of the Union Address. Instead our LGBT community barely got a mention stating, "...across the country, we're partnering with mayors, governors & state legislatures on issues from homelessness to marriage equality." Though he did deal with employment issues he avoided any mention of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) that would protect millions of LGBTQ workers from being harassed, discriminated against or fired in many states based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Though ENDA passed through the Senate last November, it's stagnant in the anti gay Republican majority House of Representatives. Obama could pass ENDA by using "executive actions" to push through changes that can't be cleared in a Congress controlled by the opposition by declaring a policy of non-discrimination in federal employment practices but he's yet to do so. Chad Griffin Human Rights Campaign President stated, “The president’s message tonight failed to address the needs of LGBT workers looking for a fair shake in this economy. Not only was there no call for the House to pass a federal law to protect LGBT workers nationwide, President Obama also sidestepped his commitment to take action where Congress has left off, leaving out an order prohibiting discrimination by federal contractors." The other LGBT notable mention was by first lady Michelle Obama who invited Jason Collins, the first openly gay active NBA player to sit in her box.
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