As Reid Becomes ENDA Cosponsor, LGBT Activists Arrested at Boehner's Office

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com June 14 2013 12:01 PM ET

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Thursday he'll become the 50th cosponsor to the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

"No one should face discrimination in their workplace based on sexual orientation," the Nevada Democrat said in a statement to The Huffington Post. "It’s time to make fairness the law of the land. That is why I am co-sponsoring this legislation and I will do everything I can to ensure that it passes the Senate."

President Obama also name-checked ENDA Thursday, at the White House's annual LGBT Pride Month reception in Washington, D.C. Obama lauded recent victories for LGBT Americans in his speech, but noted that there's more work to do, including passing ENDA. 

Across the aisle at House Speaker John Boehner's D.C. office, eight LGBT activists were arrested Thursday as they protested the speaker's opposition to ENDA. 

"We are somebody! We deserve full equality!" chanted the protesters before they were arrested by police, according to CNN

The activists, associated with the LGBT direct action group GetEqual, told CNN they were picketing Boehner's office to raise awareness of the need for ENDA or an executive order from the president that bans workplace discrimination by federal contractors. 

"We are here today because there are currently no federal workplace protections for LGBT folks in the United States of America, which we believe is wrong," Ohio resident and Iraq war veteran Sean Watkins told CNN. "If you live in a state where there are no protections, you can literally be fired for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender."