Nine of Texas’ 12 Democrats in Congress signed a letter this week calling on President Barack Obama to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers.
“As we continue to work towards final passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with strong bipartisan support, we urge you to take action now to protect millions of workers across the country from the threat of discrimination simply because of who they are or who they love,” the letter states. “We are committed to doing all we can in Congress to get ENDA to your desk this year; however, there is no reason you cannot immediately act by taking this important step. The executive order would provide LGBT people with another avenue in the federal government they could turn to if they were the victim of employment discrimination by a federal contractor. When combined with ENDA, these non-discrimination protections would parallel those that have been in place for decades on the basses of race, sex and religion.”
The nine from Texas were among 148 Democrats in the House who signed the letter, up from 110 who signed a similar letter last year, BuzzFeed reports. Forty-eight Senators also signed the letter this year, up from 38 last year.
The three Democrats from Texas who failed to sign the letter are the same three who’ve yet to co-sponsor ENDA: Reps. Henry Cuellar, Pete Gallego and Gene Green. They are among only a handful of Democrats in the House who have not done so.
A total of 199 House members have co-sponsored ENDA, which passed the Senate in 2013. Last week, Americans for Workplace Opportunity — an 11-member coalition led by the Human Rights Campaign — announced a new push to get at least 19 more co-sponsors for the bill, which they say could force Speaker John Boehner to bring it to the floor.
Lone Star Q has contacted the offices of Cuellar, Gallego and Green about their lack of support for LGBT employment protections, but they haven’t responded. Dallas activist Jeff Strater, who participated in a Human Rights Campaign Lobby Day in Washington last week, reported that Cuellar’s office didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet for his group.
“We had an appointment with Henry Cuellar’s office last Thursday in DC to talk about the letter, ENDA and other LGBT legislation,” said Strater, an HRC board member who also sits on the Texas Democratic Executive Committee. “They refused to meet with us in the office for our appointment (unlike other members of Congress) and we met in a busy hallway. The meeting was also with a legislative fellow and not a legislative aide. This was worse than our meeting with Ted Cruz’s staff. The sad part is that in our small group we had people with long ties to Cuellar’s congressional district and Laredo.”
Contact info for the Texas Dems who didn’t sign the letter and haven’t co-sponsored ENDA is below.