AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee and Sec.-Treas. Lee Saunders released a statement applauding President Obama’s message. They said:
“President Obama’s announcement today recognizes a fundamental American right – that every citizen is entitled to respect and dignity, and the equal protection of our laws. For too long, lesbian and gay Americans have been denied the right to marry the person they love, raise a family and live as equal citizens in our country.”
CWA President Larry Cohen
“The Communications Workers of America stands with the President and those who support equality and human rights. We oppose all discrimination and recognize the direct linkage between civil and workers’ rights, and the attempts to divide Americans based on these issues.
Nearly ten years ago, CWA convention delegates called for full and equal rights including civil marriage, pointing out that far too many benefits and protections of civil marriage are denied to people on the basis of sexual orientation. These often include health care and survivor benefits as well as other legal rights for partners. It’s time to move forward.”
“Working people believe in equality and fairness,” according to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, “and that’s why we are happy to stand with … President Obama in supporting marriage equality”:
LGBT working people face numerous inequities in the workplace and in society as they struggle to care for their families. Civil unions do not guarantee the 1,138 rights, benefits and responsibilities that are triggered by the word “marriage” under federal law.
Most important, we should respect and honor our friends, neighbors, and family members who want to take care of their families and their loved ones – whatever their sexual orientation. We are proud to come together for a more just America.
“The president’s support comes at a critical moment as the rights of LGBT people are under legislative attack” in several states, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said in a statement,
[...] but the growing numbers of Americans who believe in marriage equality reminds us that we cannot live up to our promise as a nation until we extend equal rights to all.
To those who have chosen to stand on the wrong side of history, we say this: There is growing momentum for equality in this country. And with each American that believes in equality, we are reminded that the continued dream of equality is our birthright, our heritage and our promise.
For anyone who counts equality among the basic tenets of a free and just America, Pres. Obama’s announcement today is a victory.
“I commend President Obama for his support of marriage equality, and I’m proud to support him as he takes this historic stand.
“Marriage equality is an economic justice issue, and a social justice issue – and that makes it a union issue. In the UFCW, we have a long, proud history of standing up for fair and equal treatment for all workers – regardless of what they look like, where they come from, what language they speak, or who they love. These values are heartfelt. We work every day to fight discrimination and unfair treatment against LGBT people on the job. That’s why our union is a strong supporter of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would ensure justice in the workplace for LGBT workers. UFCW members have been negotiating equal health care coverage for same-sex couples into their union contracts all over the country for years. It’s the right thing to do, and the fair thing to do. I’m proud that the UFCW’s advocacy on behalf of families includes all families.”
UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm:
We applaud President Obama’s statement in support of marriage equality. Our members support full equality for LGBT Americans in all matters governed by civil law, and we are grateful for the President’s courage and leadership. Today the United States took an important step towards fulfilling the Constitution’s promise of equal protection under the law. UNITE HERE stands with working families of all descriptions in the ongoing struggle for social and economic justice.
I am proud that UNITE HERE is on the side of justice for the LGBT community. Thanks, and congratulations on this important step, to all those in our Union who work to achieve full equality for our LGBT members, and for all our members. I have been especially grateful that Cleve Jones, a life-long warrior for equality, has become such an important leader in UNITE HERE. President Obama’s announcement is an important step. The struggle continues.