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IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 14, 2012 CONTACT: Jacob Tobia at (919) 741-7696 (cell) or Adrienne Harreveld at alh57@duke.


On Behalf of NC Colleges, Three Duke Students Ask Obama to sign ENDA Executive Order at annual White House LGBT Reception.
Despite Support from 73% of Likely Voters, Senior White House Staff Previously Announced This Executive Order Would Not be Signed At This Time.

WASHINGTON, DC Tomorrow, June 15 at 4:00 P.M., President Barack Obama will convene a White House reception to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, and three Duke students who were invited to the reception plan to hand-deliver a letter written by Duke Junior Jacob Tobia to the President, along with signatures from both NC College Democrats chapters and LGBT Student organizations across the state, urging him to sign an Executive Order banning anti-LGBT workplace harassment and discrimination at companies that hold federal contracts. The three Duke Students, Junior Jacob Tobia, Senior Elena Botella, and Sophomore Adrienne Harreveld will be available outside the Southeast Gate Entrance to the White House from 1:30pm until 3:30 pm on Friday, June 15th for press interviews The entire text of Tobias letter to President Obama can be found on the Huffington Post: In his letter, Tobia states that Companies in the United States should not be allowed to discriminate on the basis of an employee's sexual orientation or gender identityBy issuing an executive order that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, you can protect millions of talented, productive, and passionate employees in an instant. Furthermore the letter asserts that For many of us who are about to enter the job market, the fact that we can lose our livelihood because we are part of the LGBT community is a concern that is all too real. The letter also states that, if you do choose to issue an executive order that protects LGBT employees from discrimination, we, like millions of Americans across the country, will stand by your side in November. I dont get the chance to meet the President of the United States everyday, so I figured that, when I did, I should say something that mattered. said Tobia, Director of LGBTQ Policy for Duke Student Government, about delivering the letter to Obama. The centerpiece of the American dream stems from economic opportunity. If the federal government does not protect the rights of LGBT workers, its not just an LGBT issue it's a fight for all of us. said Adrienne Harreveld, Co-President of Duke Democrats Taxpayer dollars should never be used to support businesses that discriminate against gay and lesbian Americans in their hiring practices, said Elena Botella President of College Democrats of North Carolina, one of the three students who will deliver the letter.

I'm so proud of what my president has done for the LGBT community, but he still has unfinished business: signing an executive order granting workplace protections to millions of Americans," said Stefani Jones of Duke University. As a native resident of North Carolina, it was truly refreshing to see President Obama voice his dissenting opinion on the recently approved Amendment One, said Swati Rayasam of U.N.C. Young Democrats. However, as a young voter and student, I feel like we must recognize that the battle for equality is so much more than just marriage equality and that every day LGBT Americans are re-closeting themselves for fear of losing their jobs. In order to move forward, we hope that President Obama will sign an executive order to give LGBT Americans the freedom to work for federal contractors without fear of harassment or discrimination.