Newly-formed grassroots group Equal Rep is preparing a campaign to urge President Obama to create a cabinet-level post dedicated to the needs of the gay community.

The position of the Secretary of GLBT Affairs would be similar to the current veterans secretary, 21-year-old Paul Sousa, Equal Rep's founder, said.

“We are the only minority group to have outright discriminatory laws against us,” Sousa said. “We can't marry in 48 states, if we join the military we are required to lie or hide our sexual orientation lest we be discharged, and we are denied all federal recognition that we even exist just to name a few laws.”

“GLBT Americans are the only minority group to have never been appointed to the Presidential Cabinet in the history of the United States. We're asking President Obama to give this community the legal and political attention it requires and the representation it deserves.”

This is the fourth attempt by Boston-based Equal Rep to influence Obama to pick an openly gay candidate. The group says its current campaign to select William White to the position of Secretary of the Navy has garnered 1,800 confirmed participants.

The group considers a lobbying campaign to pick openly gay Fred Hochberg as Secretary of Commerce after New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson withdrew himself from consideration a success, despite the fact that Hochberg did not land the job. The effort, however, might have tipped the decision to name Hochberg the first openly gay director of the Export-Import Bank.

But a failed effort to lobby the Obama transition team to consider Mary Beth Maxwell, an openly lesbian candidate, to the position of Secretary of Labor, ended the aspirations of gay rights leaders for a cabinet-level appointment. The group says it gathered over 1,200 confirmed Maxwell supporters. Instead, Obama picked California Representative Hilda Solis (Democrat) for the job.

Sousa says he has over 2100 confirmed participants for the new campaign, which consists of volunteers calling and emailing the White House from January 26 – 30.

On the Net: Equal Rep is at