Since President Obama's "evolution" on marriage, we've been working hard to put attention back on the ENDA Executive Order for federal contractors. Though we're glad that the president has finally said publicly that he supports our right to marry (in fact, we delivered a thank you message to the White House yesterday with Avaaz, CREDO Action, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Center for American Progress), we know that words are not enough. We need action.
There is a really clear, concrete, and tangible action that President Obama could take today to provide workplace protections to almost one-quarter of all Americans -- putting his signature on an Executive Order to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity among federal contractors. The Executive Order has been fully vetted -- all we need is for the president to put pen to paper.
A clear example of why this Executive Order is so desperately needed comes from a company that nearly all of us pass by on a daily basis, ExxonMobil -- a company that, year after year, has refused to institute LGBT non-discrimination policies while benefiting from over $1 billion in federal contracts over the past decade.  Despite many shareholder resolutions and votes, the company continues to embrace discrimination -- repeatedly stating that they will institute such a policy only when required to by law. That's right -- they're waiting on the U.S. government and our president to force them to take action!
Can you pitch in $10, $25, or more to help us hold ExxonMobil accountable for their discriminatory policies?
One of the first actions that GetEQUAL organized when we started in 2010 was a protest at the ExxonMobil shareholder meeting in Dallas in order to highlight the need for a fully-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. After the protest and much public pressure, we received a letter from David S. Rosenthal, ExxonMobil's Vice President of Investor Relations and Secretary, which read (in part):
"Where we operate in countries in which the national laws require specific language regarding nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity be included in policies, we have amended our policies as appropriate."
It's clear that ExxonMobil is not going to create a safe and inclusive workplace until they're required to by law -- and since the company receives many millions of dollars each year in federal contracts, an Executive Order would do exactly that. We're working with the incredible organizers with GetEQUAL Texas who are making big plans to shame ExxonMobil at their shareholder meeting next week for their discriminatory policies and to draw attention to the need for an Executive Order. But the kind of action they're able to create in Dallas is dependent on resources. They need banners and bullhorns and legal assistance and travel funds to bring folks across the state to Dallas in order to make a big impact while also keeping everyone safe.
Could you pitch in $10, $25, or more to help make a big impact on ExxonMobil's shareholders meeting?
In 2011, ExxonMobil had 103,700 employees -- imagine all of those employees being able to go to work free of harassment based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Now imagine the 16.5 million Americans who work for federal contractors but who do not currently have these protections , walking into their offices and finally putting a picture of their partner up on their desk or having a conversation with their boss about transitioning without fear of being fired. This isn't a theoretical problem -- it's real, it's solvable, and we need your help to drag companies like ExxonMobil into the 21st century!
-Heather Cronk, Managing Director
 "ExxonMobil to consider barring anti-LGBT job discrimination" -- http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/05/23/exxonmobil-to-consider-barring-anti-lgbt-job-discrimination/
 "The Impact of Extending Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Requirements to Federal Contractors" -- http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Badgett-EOImpact-Feb-201211.pdf
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