About a dozen protesters took to the Strip on Tuesday afternoon with a message for U.S. Sen. Harry Reid: Pass legislation that prohibits discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The protesters were from GetEQUAL, a Washington, D.C.-based group that fights for the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. They shut down southbound traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard at Tropicana Avenue for about 20 minutes before police arrested at least eight of them for obstructing traffic.
"We are somebody, and we deserve full equality," said Robin McGehee, co-director of GetEQUAL.
As traffic backed up and drivers honked, the protesters formed a human barricade across the southbound Strip and held a banner that read: "Reid: No one can do more?" They earlier strung a banner from the intersection's pedestrian overpass that read: "Reid: Pass ENDA now."
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would put in place federal workplace protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.
GetEQUAL and other supporters say Reid and fellow Democrats haven't kept their promise to move the legislation forward this year. "Reid has been at the forefront of equal rights legislation, and I fully support him," said Derek Washington, chairman of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada. "But we need to keep up the pressure ."
Among those arrested was Lt. Dan Choi, a gay Iraq war veteran who twice chained himself to a White House fence to protest the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy."
A spokesman for Reid's office did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment Tuesday.