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Hispanic group urges Obama to ‘revisit’ ENDA stopgap

CHRIS JOHNSON | Washington Blade
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
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An organization billing itself as the largest Hispanic civil rights group in the United States is calling on President Obama to “revisit” his decision not to take administrative action to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination among federal contractors.

In a letter dated April 16, the National Council of La Raza “strongly urge(s)” Obama to reconsider the recent announcement that he won’t issue at this time an executive order requiring companies doing business with the U.S. government to have non-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Eric Rodriguez, the organization’s vice president of the Office of Research, Advocacy & Legislation, argued on behalf of the executive order in part because it’s “important to millions of Hispanic LGBT community members.”

“It will also help vital federal contractors attract and retain talented employees, as well as improve workplace productivity, appeal to consumers, and decrease the possibility of costly litigation,” Rodriguez writes.

The letter cites previously released information, including recent polling from the Human Rights Campaign showing 72 percent of Latinos support the directive. The letter also cited a recent letter signed by 72 House Democrats in favor of the order, noting that among its signers are Latino members of the House: Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-Calif.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) and former Congressional Hispanic Caucus chair Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.)

“In addition, 25 of some of the largest federal contractors think it is a good practice to add sexual orientation and gender identity to their non-discrimination policies,” Rodriguez writes. “It is, but it also does something else — it protects a group of people who have a long history of being marginalized and gives them hope. That is why we urge you to sign an EO on this matter as soon as possible.”

Founded in 1968, NCLR advocates for the Latino community through applied research, policy analysis and advocacy and works with a network of nearly 300 affiliated community-based organizations in 41 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia

Last week, the organization unveiled new polling that showed 54 percent of Latinos back marriage equality.

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