Representative Chris Carney is a Democrat from Pennsylvania’s 10th District who has indicated he would not support ENDA. He previously voted NO on the DADT repeal compromise and NO on last year’s hate crimes legislation, which is why today he’s a target of GetEQUAL’s ENDA Summer.
In addition to a day-long phone swarm (get all the details here and make your call now!), a sit-in is currently underway in Rep. Carney’s Williamsport Office. The secretary in the office is an out lesbian herself and has been sympathetic with the protesters. The police will only be called when the office closes today at 4:30. In the meantime, the protesters are chanting for equality and singing “We Shall Not Be Moved” and “We Shall Overcome” while calls from the phone swarm continue to pour in. Rep. Carney is currently on active duty at Langley Air Force base and will likely not respond today. Below is the press release from GetEQUAL as well as exclusive photos from the sit-in.
*Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Activists Tell Carney to Stop Only Worrying About His Job and Worry About his Constituents, Too*
*Williamsport, PA *–GetEQUAL, a direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization and Justice League-Activate!, a Pennsylvania based LGBT equality group, is holding a protest this morning targeting Rep. Chris Carney (D-PA) for his continued vote against the rights of his lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender constituents. The non-violent, civil disobedient action was carried out at 10 a.m. (ET) this morning at Rep. Carney’s congressional district office in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, asking him to sign a pledge to vote in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA is a piece of federal legislation that would make it illegal to hire, fire or refuse to promote LGBT workers simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees can be fired from their jobs in 29 states, and transgender or gender-nonconforming employees can be fired in 38 states.
Rep. Chris Carney has a long record of voting against his LGBT constituents. In 2009, he voted against the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act and this year voted against the Murphy Amendment to the Defense Authorization Act – more commonly known as the compromise legislation to begin the process to repeal the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. Additionally, this year Rep. Carney has made it known that his intent is to vote against any Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) bill that would protect millions of hard-working, tax-paying LGBT workers – both in Pennsylvania and across the country.
“Rep. Carney has continued voting against protecting the jobs of millions of American workers simply for no other reason than because of who they are,” said Audrey Smith, co-founder of Pennsylvania based Justice League-Activate!. “While Rep. Carney is out on the campaign trail worried about his own job, he continues to leave his LGBT constituents unprotected and without any form of federal employment protections. Like all Americans, we are worried about our job security and Rep. Carney’s votes based on discrimination are completely unacceptable. He needs to know that we Pennsylvanians expect him to protect OUR lives and jobs and not just his own!”
“GetEQUAL has promised that, as long as people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake, we will not stop standing up for those LGBT workers in dozens of states across this country without a voice, without any job security,” said Heather Cronk, managing director of GetEQUAL. “With the launch of our ‘ENDA Summer’ campaign, we told politicians that while they are back home campaigning to save their jobs, we intend on reminding them that their employment isn’t the only one on the line. Millions of LGBT workers punch a clock every single day unsure if today’s timecard could turn into tomorrow’s discriminatory pink slip. The time to pass ENDA is now.”
In addition to the action against Rep. Carney this morning, GetEQUAL, along with local advocates, has also targeted two members of the Democratic House Leadership this week demanding that they follow through on their promise to pass ENDA this year. Last night, U.S. House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) was targeted during a campaign debate. Rep. Miller, nearly six months ago, promised that after healthcare legislation was passed that he’d move on ENDA. Healthcare legislation passed the House on March 22nd, 2010.
Later today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be targeted to make good on her promise to pass ENDA legislation this year. The act of civil disobedience will start with a rally in the historic Harvey Milk Plaza and proceed with shutting down traffic on Market and Castro streets in San Francisco, located in Speaker Pelosi’s own congressional district.
In mid-July of this year, GetEQUAL released a timeline showing years of broken promises and excuses from elected officials that have led to the stalling of any federal protections being in place for LGBT workers. The timeline is available at www.getequal.org/endatimeline.
Click the images to see them full-size: