5:51 (BCN): About 30 protesters have gathered in San Francisco’s Castro District to protest House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s position on equality for gay people in the workplace.
The group leading the protest, GetEQUAL, said on its website that Pelosi is “blocking legislation that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers from workplace discrimination.”
The website said Pelosi made a July speech that supported the passing of a bill that would prevent discrimination of gay professionals, but the group is not happy with its progress.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, also called ENDA, is a pending Congressional bill first introduced in 1994 to prohibit workplace discrimination against homosexuality.
The bill is meant to prevent an employer’s discrimination against sexual orientation or gender identity, according to www.govtrack.us, a website that tracks the actions of the U.S. Congress.
A bartender at Twin Peaks Tavern said he saw about 30 people gathered with signs at the intersections of Market and Castro streets at about 5 p.m.
Protesters have since unfurled a banner across Market Street, which has blocked the intersection.
5:20 PM: From Stop8.org‘s Matt Baume comes word that “GetEqual in Castro, protesting Pelosi’s ENDA inaction. About to block traffic” as he sends the above picture of the demonstration.
Are you out there? Seeing anything good?
12:36 PM: According to the Bay Area Reporter, LGBT organizations including GetEqual, One Struggle One Fight, and Pride at Work are gathering at 5 p.m. Thursday at Harvey Milk Plaza above the Castro Muni station, after which they plan on blocking Market Street at Castro.
The purpose of the demonstration: “an effort to pressure House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to schedule a vote on federal legislation banning anti-LGBT discrimination in the workplace that has been stalled in Congress all summer.” The protesters say they’ll be holding a banner that says “Pelosi: When Jobs are Lost, the Market Stops.”
When the activists were asked why they opted to demonstrate in (or interrupt the traffic of) an area presumably filled with those already sympathetic to their goals, as opposed to the entrance to I-80 at Octavia and Market or further up Market in the financial district, GetEqual co-founder Robin McGehee told the BAR that “it was felt the Castro would send a stronger message from Pelosi’s LGBT constituents.”