Demand vote Now on ENDA

Yesterday, July 21, in early afternoon 106 degree Las Vegas heat, GetEQUAL, a national direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender(LGBT) civil rights organization, along with HERO, a local grassroots group of community organizers committed to fighting for the human and equal rights of all people, and local Nevada and other LGBT-equality activists, carried out a non-violent, civil disobedient protest calling for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- NV) to immediately schedule a vote on the decades old Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).  

ENDA would provide federal, legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers from workplace harassment and being fired for simply being who they are.  In 29
states, it is still legal to fire someone solely because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual.  And in 38 states it is legal to fire someone solely for being transgender.

Wednesday's action was carried out across Las Vegas Boulevard, the main thoroughfare down the Las Vegas strip, in front of the Statue of Liberty monument outside of the New York, New York Hotel & Casino.  

The approximately 20 activists carried picket signs with slogans such as "I can still be fired for who I am" and unfurled a banner across Las Vegas Boulevard that read, "REID: NO ONE CAN DO MORE?"  "No One Can Do More" has been the slogan Senate Majority Leader Reid is using on most all of his television commercials in his re-election campaign.  Activists also unfurled a banner reading "REID: PASS ENDA NOW!" across the pedestrian crosswalk that leads from the MGM Grand to the New York, New York Hotel & Casino.

A total of eight activists participating in today's rally were arrested.

"Our community has literally watched decades go by with campaign promise after campaign promise from Congressional leaders about the passage of ENDA," said Robin McGehee, co-founder and co-director of GetEQUAL.  "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's own press aide told the community at the end of May, 'The Senate has no plans for taking up ENDA.  It would be very helpful for people to encourage the Senate to outline a plan for considering the bill.' GetEQUAL's members and supporters agreed, and we hope that Senator Reid
agrees, as well."

"The time to pass ENDA is now," said Heather Cronk, managing director of GetEQUAL.  "No more delays, no more excuses, and no more broken promises. People need these federal protections, especially the hundreds of thousands of LGBT workers living in dozens of states where it is still legal to fire someone solely for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender."

The front page of the local news in Las Vegas today are statistics about the jobless rate in Las Vegas - and Nevada, as a whole.  Las Vegas' jobless rate has soared to a record 14.5 percent and 14.2 for Nevada as a whole.

Cronk continued, "Today's leading news in Nevada is the fact that newly-released unemployment numbers show 193,000 people in the state are looking for jobs. There is no doubt that many LGBT workers are included in that number, who have the added burden of discrimination to contend with when applying for a job.  It's not right, it's not fair and it's not the American way.  LGBT workers, like all American workers, just want to earn a living, pay their bills, and provide for their families like everyone else."