Yesterday, I reported that several major labor unions expressed support for Barack Obama's statement that he supports the right of all Americans to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation. More unions expressed their support for the president and marriage equality in a move that, as I pointed out yesterday, is good for Obama, for unions and for LGBT Americans:
This is a great development for a number of reasons. One, it's a clear statement from unions that they recognize that LGBT families are working families, too. Two, it gives Obama strong public support on an issue that he is certain to be attacked on. Third, it is a good way to attract new people to the labor movement who might have otherwise not paid much attention to unions because they had other issues that were more important to them. If it is clear that unions support LGBT families -- which it is -- there is more reason for people to move out of issue silos, recognizing that they have allies they can work together with to improve everybody's situation.
UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm (via press release):
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.
United Auto Workers President Bob King:
“The UAW applauds President Obama’s remarks on same-sex marriage, and we regard it as a historic and courageous leap toward equality for all Americans.
We oppose all discrimination and believe there is a definite connection between civil, human and workers’ rights. This belief continues to define us today.
Solidarity means economic and social justice for all, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. This commitment to civil and human rights for all helped fuel many early UAW organizing victories. The UAW helped organize African-American workers during the 1930s when companies used race as a divisive anti-union strategy. In 1955 we were the first industrial union to establish a Women’s Department, its mission to encourage female participation in the predominantly male UAW – and to ensure that a woman’s place was in her union. We were arm in arm with the civil rights movement in the 1950s and ‘60s.
The ongoing struggle for civil and human rights for everyone – including LGBT Americans – cannot be separated from the fight for justice for all workers. That’s something the UAW has known from the start.”