Thomas Roberts   |  June 14, 2013

LGBT activists push Employment Non-Discrimination Act

President Obama is facing heat from LGBT activists, who are unhappy that he has yet to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees. On Thursday, eight LGBT protesters were arrested after staging a sit-in outside the office of House Speaker John Boehner, who has expressed no interest in advancing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Heather Cronk, co-director of GetEqual--the group assoicated with the infamous Michelle Obama heckler, and now, the sit-in--joins Thomas Roberts.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> arrested after staging a sit-in outside house speaker john boehner 's office on capitol hill thursday. the group refused to leave after being denied a meeting to discuss the important non-discrimination act. meanwhile, the president was welcoming the lgbt community to a pride celebration at the white house where he urged members of congress to act on.

>> in 41 states you can be fired because of who you are or who you love. that's wrong. we have to change it. a bipartisan bill moving through in the senate would bab all discrimination in the workplace now and forever. we need to get that passed.

>> the president rattled off a list of accomplishments for his administration and the lgbt community but ending workplace discrimination is a huge sticking point. heather, good to have you here. eight of your activists were arrested yesterday. another one of your members confronted the first lady at a recent fund-raiser in d.c. that created a backlash. the protester wrote an op-ed in the " washington post " saying time and again the first lady has come to our community and asked us to max out on our contributions to the d in. c despite the democratic party despite them happily cashing lgbt checks. is this disruptive approach the best strategy for getting your points across?

>> well, look. what we found last week was that we were finally able to open a national conversation about workplace discrimination , something that impacts every lgbt american in this had country. so what we're looking to do is not only to open that conversation, but to push that conversation forward. now we are looking to move from talk to action. so we're looking for the president to pick up his pen, make sure that he's not just talking, but moving us toward action, sign an executive order that would cover about 22% of the american work force , get us about a quarter of the way there, then show leadership for congress to pass the employment non-discrimination act after decades of languishing and finally make it illegal in this country to discriminate against people based on who they are or who they love.

>> heather, senator marco rubio was recently questioned -- he said, "i haven't read the legislation. i think, by and large, all americans should be protected but i'm not for any special protections based on orientation. what's your reaction to that especially if the president is relying on members of congress to do something with that before an executive order ?

>> it is not surprising that senator rubio said that. what is surprising is that he was willing to say it outloud. so with the republican party looking to senator rubio as the future of the party, it's clear that he's looking to take the party backward, not forward. what i'm hoping for is for the president to come out and say, actually, senator rubio, that's wrong and not only is it wrong, but i'm going to take action to correct it. i'm going to take action to finally and fully make it illegal to discriminate against lgbt folks in this country and to separate himself -- separate the democratic party from the republican party taking this country backward.

>> heather kronk, thanks for your