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LGBT activists arrested on front of Boehner’s office

WASHINGTON, June 16 (UPI) — Eight workers associated with an LGBT activist group were arrested during a protest outside House Speaker John Boehner’s office in Washington.

The activists taken into custody Thursday are affiliated with GetEQUAL, the same lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization that disrupted first lady Michelle Obama’s speech during a Democratic National Committee event last week. They were seeking President Obama’s signature on an Executive Order that would bar any company that contracts with the federal government from discrimination based sexual orientation or gender identity.

The LGBT workers arrested Thursday were from states that don’t have employment protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity, GetEQUAL said in a release. They were calling on Boehner, R-Ohio, to support and advance for a vote the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which GetEQUAL said has languished in Congress for nearly 40 years.

“It’s clear that Speaker Boehner has absolutely zero intention of supporting or moving forward the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Sean Watkins, a gay Iraq War veteran and one of the speaker’s constituents. “In the face of Republican obstructionism, the only hope the LGBT community has of garnering any degree of workplace protections this year is for President Obama to make good on his promise to sign the federal contractor Executive Order sitting on his desk. Such an order would protect a quarter of America’s workforce from discrimination.”

“We are somebody! We deserve full equality! Right here! Right now!” the group chanted outside Boehner’s office, CNN reported.

After several warnings, U.S. Capitol Police arrived with plastic handcuffs and removed the activists.

Several of the activists told CNN they prepared for arrest by getting legal advice and writing their attorney’s phone numbers in marker on their arms.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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