Task Force responds to President Obama’s State of the Union address

The Task Force responded to President Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight by reiterating its call for federal employment protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and an end to the discriminatory “Defense of Marriage Act.”

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey said:

President Obama spoke pointedly tonight of the need to get our country’s economy moving again, of getting people back to work, and of tackling the huge economic disparity that is hurting and hampering families everywhere. We couldn’t agree more and urge his administration and Congress to work together to ensure that everybody — including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people — have an opportunity to offer their unfettered best to America.

This is a challenge right now, in a nation where the rich are getting richer and everyone else is struggling to tread water. Many families are hurting, and LGBT families are just as vulnerable to economic hardship. The fact is, the state of the union for LGBT people remains largely one of inequality. In many parts of the country, we can still be fired from or denied employment for simply being who we are, and marriage inequality relegates our families to second-class status.

If the president is truly serious about job creation and boosting America’s economic well-being, he must provide leadership to pass federal employment protections for LGBT people and end the costly and unjust federal marriage ban. He must also retain the safety net of services that so many people and families depend upon for their survival.

Fairness is not a privilege of power and wealth, but a right of humanity. America rises to its best when its people are allowed to rise to theirs. We urge the president to lead the way.

The Task Force is currently calling on the president and Congress to:

  • Sign an executive order that bars federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against LGBT applicants and workers.
  • Pass employment protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, particularly in light of the nation’s current unemployment crisis.
  • Repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
  • Pass an LGBT-inclusive Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill.
  • Pass federal anti-bullying legislation such as the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.
  • Pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation, including measures like the Uniting American Families Act and the DREAM Act.
  • Pass pay equity legislation such as the Paycheck Fairness Act and pass paid sick-leave legislation that supports working people.
  • Extend federal emergency unemployment insurance benefits without adding any new barriers for unemployed workers.
  • Ensure that LGBT people are included in all federal data collection.