69 Religious And Civil Rights Groups Ask Obama To Exclude Religious Exemptions From Executive Order Banning LGBT Discrimination


Sixty-nine religious and civil rights organizations have signed a letter asking President Barack Obama not to exempt “religiously affiliated contractors” from a planned executive order protecting LGBT employees of federal contractors.

Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, American faith leaders and 140 religious leaders have asked Obama for “a robust religious exemption” stating “it would be wrong to require [religiously affiliated federal contractors] to violate those legally protected convictions in order to be eligible to receive federal contracts.”

The aforementioned letter against religious exemptions — signed by the American Civil Liberties Union, GetEQUAL, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), PFLAG, the National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force — reads in part:

“Religious freedom is one of our most cherished values, a fundamental and defining feature of our national character. It guarantees us the freedom to hold any belief we choose and the right to act on our religious beliefs within certain limits. It does not, however, provide organizations the right to discriminate using taxpayer dollars. When a religiously affiliated organization makes the decision to request a taxpayer-funded contract with the federal government, it must play by the same rules as every other federal contractor

Indeed, taxpayer-funded discrimination, in any guise, is antithetical to basic American values. Polls consistently show that Americans overwhelmingly understand and agree that when tax dollars are in play, discrimination is wrong. If an organization requests and receives government funding, it should not be allowed to discriminate against qualified job applicants based on who they are or what their religious beliefs may be. Yet, exempting religiously affiliated organizations that contract with the federal government from prohibitions on discrimination by federal contractors would do just that.”

Chris Geidner from Buzzfeed Politics adds that the letter also asks Obama “to reverse a Bush order that expanded the religious exemption under the existing federal contractor order… [which] permits religiously affiliated organizations that receive government contracts to discriminate in hiring based on religion.

Such religious exemptions are what compelled the National Gay and Lesbian Task forced to drop its support for the current Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Read the full letter AFTER THE JUMP…

LGBT EO Sign-On Letter FINAL by Chris Geidner


  1. Gary says

    If someone’s religion opposes anyone married who commits adultery, should a Senate or House member who commits adultery be paid a salary using taxpayers’ money? What if any of them eat fish? Why should taxpayers’ money be paid to anyone in government who does anything that is forbidden by the religion of any citizen? Think of how much money the US would save if it didn’t have to pay salaries to anyone who commits anti-religious behavior.


    69 man. Seriously these talibangelicals need to understand you pledge on your favorite book of fairy tales t uphold th US constitution not the reverse!

  3. sjorgl says

    It’s pretty simple. You take government money, then you can’t discriminate. Otherwise, you don’t get the contract.
    It’s not like these churches are paying taxes anyway.

  4. Lymis says

    “In other words, they’re looking for a license to hate.”

    No. It’s the reverse.

    These are religious people asking for there to be NO religious exemptions and that religious contractors be held to the same standards as non-religious ones.

    They are agreeing that specifically religious considerations shouldn’t make a difference in whether or not someone contracting for a secular job with the US government – if a contractor can’t follow the rules that apply to everyone else, they shouldn’t be applying for a government contract.

    It’s pretty hard to imagine anything outside of independently contracted chaplains where religion should play any sort of part in things at all. So no exemption should be needed.

    If the contract is to supply food to the troops or to run a cafeteria in the CIA compound, someone who won’t handle pork or shellfish shouldn’t be applying for the contract if those items are expected to be on the menu.

    If your religion prevents you from using electricity, you shouldn’t be applying for a tech contracting job with the government.

    Conversely, the contract shouldn’t force a contractor to feed their employees bacon if the job being contracted doesn’t relate to eating pork products.

  5. anon says

    Wow, this was a confusing one for sure. How about some outlining?

    It’s fairly obvious that this is a tussle over money. Religious groups want govt. money, which is always dangerous to take considering all the strings attached. If you have any convictions at all, don’t take grant money. However, it always seems like an easy win at first.

    So, they want it both ways, get the money, no strings attached. However, that splits the pie up a bit, so other groups are like, if you get the money, you can’t have convictions–more for them them, therefore. So, in the end, the only religion is money.

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