SF gay community bats for rights protection

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jul 30 2010 12:09 PM | Updated as of Jul 31 2010 12:56 AM

SAN FRANCISCO - Gays, lesbians and their supporters marched in front of the federal building to put pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to protect gay rights in the workplace.

“We are in the gayest city in the world. Our representative in Congress is trying to kill this bill by not putting it out on a vote. Pelosi has promised a lot and so we’re expecting her to fulfill her promises,” said gay rights advocate Reverend Israel Alvaran.

The protesters are calling for the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or ENDA.

In 29 states, it is still legal to fire someone because they are gay, lesbian or bisexual. In 38 states, it is legal to fire someone solely for being transgender.

ENDA would outlaw discrimination on both sexual orientation and gender identity.

But ENDA has not been put on the agenda for Senate floor action for the next few weeks before the August 9 recess.

Raffy Sison, a bystander during the ENDA rally, is unemployed.

Sison is gay. He thinks his sexual orientation sometimes causes him to lose out on jobs.

“It shouldn’t but then I know it does. There are times when it’s a factor that’s unspoken,” said Sison.

Public opinion polling shows that 90% of Americans are in favor of equal rights among gays in the workplace.

Joebert Poblete, another gay rights advocate, said: “Even if you disagree with these lifestyles, I think everybody would agree that people should be evaluated based on whether they can do a job or not, not based on their sexual preferences.”

Protesters said with the recession, gays and lesbians are counting on the government to help keep hiring and workplace practices fair.

Members of the gay community and their supporters said it’s about time President Obama puts pressure on Congress to pass ENDA. After all, they said this is more than a workplace issue. It’s about a basic human right that should be given to all, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Balitang America