April 9, 2012 | by Chris Johnson
Gay couple to press for ENDA stopgap at Easter Egg Roll

A gay couple participating in the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday plans to use the opportunity to press President Obama to take administrative action to protect LGBT workers against discrimination.

Jarrod Scarbrough and Les Sewell, who hail from New Mexico and have been partners for 18 years, intend to ask the Obama to issue an executive order requiring companies doing business with the federal government to have non-discirmination policies protecting LGBT workers. They’ll attend the event with their eight-year-old daughter.

In a statement, Scarbrough said he wants to bring the issue up with the president because he works for a federal contractor, United Healthcare. According to the Human Rights Campaign’s 2012 Corporate Equality Index, the company already non-discrimination policies set up based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“I work for a federal contractor, and there’s a piece of paper sitting on President Obama’s desk that would give me a little more security for my family,” Scarbrough said. “As so many families gather on the White House lawn … I hope that the First Family takes a moment to reflect on how hard gay families like mine work to ensure that we have the stability and security that so many others take for granted. My message — and the message of my family — echoes President Obama’s campaign slogan: We can’t wait. It’s time for President Obama to sign this Executive Order.”

The couple plans on attending the Easter Egg Roll while attending while wearing T-shirts reading, “We Can’t Wait.” The words recall Obama’s theme of issuing executive orders to create jobs while legislative aimed to stimulate the economy languishes in the divided Congress.

Since the executive order is similar in its goal to Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the directive has sometimes been referred to as the “ENDA” executive order. However, the order would be more limited in scope because it only affects federal contractors.

Multiple sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, have told the Blade the Labor and Justice Departments have cleared such a measure, but the White House has remained silent on whether it will take such action.

Scarbrough and Sewell plan to ask the president about the issue as support for the executive order continues to grow. Last week, 72 House Democrats wrote a letter to Obama urging him to action. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund became the first non-LGBT civil rights group to endorse the executive order.

In 2006, former President George W. Bush first allowed gay families to participate in the egg roll after more than 100 families camped out for tickets to show they wanted to participate. in all aspects of American life. President Obama issued the first official invitation to gay families to attend in 2009.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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