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Four women arrested during a sit-in at Speaker Pelosi's office expected to be arraigned today in DC Superior Court
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Four women arrested during a sit-in at Speaker Pelosi's office expected to be arraigned today in DC Superior Court

WASHINGTON, DC ­ Activists will gather outside the District of Columbia Superior Courthouse today in solidarity with four women arrested during a sit-in at Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Washington office two weeks ago. On March 18, led by co-founders Robin McGehee and Kip Williams, GetEQUAL staged simultaneous sit-ins at Speaker Pelosi's Washington and San Francisco offices to voice its demand that Pelosi bring a trans-inclusive Employee Non-Discrimination Act through markup and to a floor vote by the end of the month.

Tired of false promises to pass ENDA, which would provide basic employment protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, the four women refused to leave the office without a guarantee that the bill would be brought to a vote. They were ultimately arrested for unlawful entry and face arraignment today on misdemeanor charges.

ENDA legislation has been stuck in the House Committee on Education and Labor since last year and another promise that it would be brought to the House floor for a vote in March did not happen.

"As Congress returns from recess they have an opportunity to pass what the LGBT community has been fighting for 40 years: basic workplace protections. Every American has the right to a secure working environment," said Jay Carmona, one of the four arrested. "A person¹s gender identity or sexual orientation does not affect their ability to do the same work others do. They should be protected from discrimination and there jobs should be secure."

GetEQUAL is determined to continue fighting for this bill and intends to use non-violent civil disobedience and people powered actions to bring attention to the injustice. In over 50 percent of states LGBT people can be fired simply for who they are, according to leaders of the new online LGBTQ activist community. It will target its further actions on the Committee that is overseeing the legislation, the House that has already been stated to have the votes to pass it and finally, the Senate who can help make job protection a reality for millions of Americans.

"As our community continues to receive conflicting messages about how and when the Employment Non-Discrimination Act will be brought to the House floor for a vote, the LGBT community has workers without job security and families afraid of potential loss of income if their orientation is revealed," said McGehee. "The time to pass ENDA is now."

"These women face arraignment tomorrow while Speaker Pelosi has still not made a commitment to make employment non-discrimination a reality," said Williams. "This from a woman who serves a constituency base that expects nothing less than her full commitment to speak for equality."

In addition to Carmona, the other members of the "ENDA 4" scheduled for arraignment tomorrow are Samantha Ames (from Washington, DC), Chas Kirven (from Dallas, TX) and Michelle Wright (from Fresno, CA).

The arraignment will take place at the DC Superior Courthouse, 500 Indiana Avenue, NW, Courtroom #201. Photos of the gathering and arraignment will be available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/getequal/

# # #

Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBTQ community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information on GetEQUAL visit www.getequal.org

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