- (Reuters/Jim Young)
Jarrod Scarbrough and Les Sewell are traveling from New Mexico with their daughter Allegra to participate in Monday's Easter egg roll on the lawn of the White House. And while they're enjoying the event, they hope to lobby President Obama on the issue of gay rights and what they consider to be discrimination in the workplace.
"I work for a federal contractor, and I know there's a piece of paper sitting on President Obama's desk that would give me a little more security for my family," Scarbrough, who describes himself as a "queer activist and bibliophile" on his Twitter page, told USA Today.
For children under 13, the White House Easter egg roll is the hottest ticket in town as more than 30,000 people from across the nation are allowed full access to the sprawling south lawn. It dates back to 1878 and tickets are only available through a nationwide lottery or by invitation.
Although Scarbrough and Sewell may find it challenging to corner Obama amid all the chaos, their issue has been a top priority for homosexual activists.
Specifically, gay rights groups are pushing for Obama to sign an executive order banning workplace discrimination by any federal contractor on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The order has been approved by the Departments of Justice and Labor and is awaiting the president's signature.
"My message – and the message of my family – echoes President Obama's campaign slogan: We can't wait. It's time for President Obama to sign this executive order," said Scarbrough.
Mark Vann, who heads up a Christian nonprofit in Alabama, supports an individual's right to lobby but sees the Easter egg roll as an event for children, not for political activism.
"The White House Easter egg roll is a longstanding tradition for kids of all walks of life to visit the White House grounds," said Vann. "I would hope event would focus on the children and not be used as a venue for discuss nonbiblical social causes."
This is not Scarbrough's first attempt at lobbying for gay rights. On Valentine's Day in 2011, he and his daughter appeared at an event in New Mexico criticizing state and federal legislators for supporting the Defense of Marriage Act and other bills that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.
While the Obama administration has signaled its support of gay rights by refusing to defend DOMA in the federal courts, the president has angered some gay rights activists by refusing to publicly embrace homosexual rights.
Yet for many voters, the issue is not so much about Obama's personal beliefs as it is his desire to win a second term.
"To say the issue of homosexual rights is a hot-button issue is an understatement," said Vann. "President Obama will need all the votes he can muster in November, especially in the more conservative states of the South where traditional marriage is important. I would suspect he will tread carefully on this issue."
Just hours before heading to the White House, Scarbrough tweeted, "Excited my family is gong the #EasterEggRoll today and hoping to get message to Obama that #LGBT people can't wait for job protections."
Among the celebrities attending Monday's event are Hollywood actors Julianne Moore and Forest Whitaker.