Two years ago, in a primary election that was ignored by much of the electorate, many LGBT North Carolinians not only cast their vote against marriage discrimination but also stood outside the polls trying to convince others that they were real people deserving of equal rights. I know I got sunburned at a rural Durham County precinct passing out literature at a polling site that day. But too many could not help publicly in the fight for equality because being gay is a fireable offense in too much of America.
That was May 8th. On May 9th President Obama came out for marriage equality. It was met with mixed reactions in the LGBT community. Some felt betrayed that this didn't come sooner. Some felt like they were being given a helping hand after a devastating election the day before. And some saw it was an important piece in setting the stage for the historic victories the LGBT community saw in the General Election that year as the pace of advancements for LGBT equality began to increase at a rapid clip.
However it was viewed, one undeniable impetus for the President's public evolving on marriage equality was Vice President Biden beating him to the punch by blurting out what he really thinks as he so often does. I'm quite sure I saw BFD t shirts being sold after his health care reform remark. Well, good ol' VP Biden has done it again.
President Obama declared during the State of the Union address that this year is the one of putting pen to paper, but there has still been hesitance to issue an employment non-discrimination executive order for the LGBT community. If that is because of any feared political consequences, then Biden's remarks this week saying that he supports it and that "I don't see any downside" to an executive order has surely taken care of that.
What political gain could withholding action now could possibly outweigh the untenable situation of having the Vice President out ahead of the President again? President Obama has often signed executive orders supporting the LGBT community around this time of year as June Pride Month approaches. As someone who proudly voted for President Obama I'm hoping he will take this opportunity to sign an ENDA-like executive order now. There are too many people trapped in the closets and on the sidelines when it comes to pro-equality struggles because of fears of workplace discrimination. The time for this important step towards a more fair society is now.