President Obama is set to release a new executive order forbidding discrimination against LGBT people for companies that get federal contracts and the White House announced that it will not contain any exemptions for religious beliefs by the company’s owners.
President Barack Obama will on Monday sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, a senior administration official said Friday.
The action, which amends two existing executive orders, will also formally prohibit discrimination against federal workers on the basis of gender identity.
With Congress unable thus far to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – which would apply to most employers nationwide – LGBT activists had for years been calling on the president to take action where he could, and to sign an executive order opposing discrimination at the 24,000 companies that have government contracts. They employ 28 million workers, a fifth of the nation’s workers…
Though he is amending Johnson’s order on federal contractors, Obama will keep in place a 2002 amendment by George W. Bush, which allows religiously affiliated contractors to favor people of their same religion for religious roles, such as positions in the clergy.
“You can use religion to only hire people who share your religion, but you can’t discriminate against someone who is of your faith who happens to be LGBT, unless they fall within the ministerial exception,” the senior administration official said.
The senior administration official said that Obama had listened input coming from LGBT groups, religious organizations and others, and “took that input to heart.”
“We believe that this order both protects the LGBT workers and respects the interests of religious entities that serve as federal contractors,” the official added.
Expect howls of outrage and screams of “TYRANNY!” from the Christian right, but this is exactly the right thing to do. A company should not be allowed to discriminate against gay people because their religion demands any more than they are allowed to discriminate against women or racial minorities because their religion demands it.