A reminder: this is what happens when you live in a flyover state without anti-discrimination laws on the books — you can be fired simply for being LGBT. Veda Renfrow said she lost her job as a broadcast technician responsible for recording Wake County commission meetings one day after coming out to co-workers. (NBC 17):

“For those four years, I did the best job I could while, pardon me if I, over the past four years, I did the best work I could while not letting my own politics get in the way of my job,” she told commissioners.

Renfrow said she came out as being gay privately to co-workers the same day commissioners voted to support the amendment.

“I got a call the next day from my boss, who was a contractor with their contractor, Wake County’s contractor. I was told, basically, that Wake County did not want me back,” she saya.

Renfrow said she never got an answer as to why.

“Needless to say, this resolution was upsetting and I was upset by it, but I did nothing different in my position than I would at any other meeting,” she said.


On a related topic, as you may know the Obama White House punted on signing an executive order that would ban anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. It wouldn’t help people in Ms. Renfrow’s position (she’s a state contractor; we’d need a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act to pass), but it would cover a large number of people who are currently not protected in states like North Carolina whose employers do business with the federal government.

The Obama administration recently summoned the heads of LGBT organizations to deliver bad news – no executive order, no date certain to do one, and, by the way, bug Congress to get the votes to pass it (impossible given the current composition on the Hill). Michelangelo Signorile discusses the debacle:

Not only is it the right thing to do now — and a promise Barack Obama made during the 2008 campaign — but it’s good politics: the president would energize a politically active constituency heading into the election, as well as much of the rest of his liberal base — a whopping 90 percent of which supports the order. It sends a positive message to independents, who also overwhelmingly support the order (by 70 percent) and tend to vote on attributes of strong leadership.

…This was a screw-up on several levels, by the White House and the Obama campaign. Appearing on my radio program, Freedom to Work president Tico Almeida, one of a group of LGBT leaders brought into a White House meeting last week to be told that the president wouldn’t sign the order “at this time,” believes the White House and the Obama campaign were overcome with “panic” after a gay male couple announced in the media that they’d be going to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll with their daughter to confront the president on the issue.

What could the panic be about? Some have speculated that the White House perhaps was concerned about religious entities that take money from the federal government causing a replay of the contraception debacle. But in fact, those groups are not contractors; they are grantees. The executive order wouldn’t cover them. It would affect mostly secular, for-profit corporations. And for the minuscule number that might have a religious component, Almeida says there would be a religious exemption.

So if fear of religious backlash is the reason, it’s a cowardly overreaction, a panic for sure, particularly because the people who would be concerned about this issue, the evangelical right, are already not voting for this president.

And as we see, LGBTs around the country who are not protected will continue to be fired for no good reason.

And what does the White House say today as the sh*t continues to hit the fan? A big helping of “I don’t know.” (Wash Blade):

“[A]t this time we’re not pursuing an executive order,” Carney said. “I’m not going to speculate about executive orders that may or may not be pursued in the future. What I’m saying is right now we’re not. We discussed this pretty thoroughly last week, and the focus is on building a kind of support for a coalition behind passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that we hope would be to the kind of legislative action that would be especially effective in this case.”
On Monday, Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, told the Blade and other media outlets in response to inquiries on the executive order, “While the administration hasn’t taken any options off the table, our belief is that the time is right for a comprehensive legislative approach to achieve passage of ENDA.”
Carney said he wasn’t aware about the response, but maintained the White House position hasn’t changed from when administration officials told LGBT advocates at a high-level meeting last week the executive order won’t happen at this time. ”I don’t know about the comment that you’re referring to,” Carney said. “I can tell you that our position hasn’t changed from when we started talking about this last week.”