Farah’s High Opinion of Himself »« Chuck Norris: Anti-Vaxxer

No Religious Exemption in Obama Anti-Discrimination Order

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.

Comments

  1. Mr Ed says

    While there is no religious exemption they can still show a preference to hiring those of the same religion. A bit of a loop hole.

  2. garnetstar says

    No pity for companies who cry “religious persecution”. No one is forcing them to be federal contractors.

    If companies want lucrative federal contracts, they’ll have to comply with the law. But if their religious principles are so primary, they can put their money where their mouths are and get out of that.

    Let’s see how many prefer to whine for special treatment instead.

  3. abb3w says

    Quibble: this order does not put in place any new exemption; but the secular left also should howl.

    The new order appears to directly amend former President Johnson’s Executive Order 11246 — which earlier order (possibly in part due to EO 13279 by President Dubya) includes an exemption for religious organizations in Section 204(c), and which section (as far as I can see) is NOT amended by President Obama’s new executive order.

    [...]this Order shall not apply to a Government contractor or subcontractor that is a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society, with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, association, educational institution, or society of its activities.

    Which means that religious organizations — even those with federal contracts — still retain the right to discriminate against LGBT people in just the exact same degree they still have the right to discriminate on the basis of race or sex.

  4. cptdoom says

    Don’t let anyone on the right know that most of the largest corporations already had such protections internally or operated in states that included such protections. Exxon-Mobil may be the only large corporation without those protections. Thus the impact of this order won’t be as sweeping as the Right may fear/hope (hope because this will be a big fundraiser for them, as the howls of outrage from the usual suspects already proves). Of course Ed also linked to Joseph Farah’s reaction to the 3% figure for the LGB population. Begs the question – why is this executive order so bad if it only impacts 3% of the workers?

  5. says

    Or we could just abolish “faith-based initiatives” and stop giving government contracts to religious organizations. That works for me, too.

  6. says

    cptdoom “Begs the question – why is this executive order so bad if it only impacts 3% of the workers?”
    Because it negatively effects 97% of heteroworkers and almost 100% of heteroemployers. I mean, just imagine getting in that sweet federal contract and then your boss has you split your cubicle just so some gayhomo he was forced to hire will have a space.

  7. says

    The current phrasing EO 11246, Section 204(c), which remained unchanged after Obama made his amendment:

    Section 202 of this Order shall not apply to a Government contractor or subcontractor that is a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society, with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, association, educational institution, or society of its activities. Such contractors and subcontractors are not exempted or excused from complying with the other requirements contained in this Order.

    Religious organizations have an established right to determine whether or not an individual follows their particular religion. They also have an established right to say that all employees are de facto engaging in the carrying on of the religious corporation’s mission: that is why Catholic schools are able to dismiss teachers and janitors for alleged sins, actions that would be blatantly illegal if done by a public school, or even a private secular school.

    Now consider the Hobby Lobby ruling, which opened the door for any corporation to claim that it is a religious corporation. Under what seems to be established common law, all the corporation has to do is say that they are a religious corporation, all employees further the mission of the corporation, and homosexuals cannot follow their religion. And the government’s hands will be thoroughly tied.

    Yeah, I am so cheering right now.

  8. vereverum says

    Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Luke 16:13)
    If you serve mammon there are rules and restrictions.
    Voluntary servant has no complaint.
    If you don’t like it, don’t serve it.
    The same applies to broccoli.

  9. eric says

    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.

    So, if I go into a store that’s taken federal money, I suppose I will have to address the cashiers as “father Bob” and “sister Sue” now….

  10. says

    …it will not contain any exemptions for religious beliefs by the company’s owners.

    If it did, that would seem to defeat the entire purpose. Why put in place an anti-discrimination rule if “I hate queers” will get someone out of it?

    As for specifically religious institutions (e.g. churches), I’m at a loss as to why they should be receiving federal contracts in the first place.

  11. eric says

    As for specifically religious institutions (e.g. churches), I’m at a loss as to why they should be receiving federal contracts in the first place.

    Its an interesting question.

    On the one hand – equal treatment under law and even nondiscrimination rules imply that if they qualify for some grant or make the best proposal for some contract, they should be considered; being a religious organization all by itself should not disqualify one from these sorts of opportunities. Consider, for example, that (illegal) discrmination includes making an employment decision on factors irrelevant to the job function. Well, “being a catholic organization” is a factor irrelevant to the question of whether an organization can serve soup or build a house. It would be discriminatory to deny them that “job” (i.e., grant or fundng) based solely on their catholicism.

    OTOH, these organizations receive a lot of economic perks, like not having to pay property taxes. That gives them an unfair advantage in any sort of federal competitive bidding situation. So I think a very reasonable argument can be made that they shouldn’t be allowed to compete for federal business opportunities because they “participate in a different federal program” (i.e., being a religious non-profit) that would give them an unfair advantage in these grant and competitive bid federal opportunities. As an analogy, feds sometimes employ contractors to help them write requests for proposals and grant conditions. The contractors who do that work are not allowed to compete for the proposals and grants they help write, because that would obviously give them an unfair advantage. If you do work A, you are forbidden from receiving work B. An argument can be made (though I’m not sure it completely holds water) that the same situation applies here: once you “do” the no-pay-property-tax program, you cannot “do” the compete-with-payers-of-property-tax programs.

  12. vereverum says

    @ eric #13
    It’s a queasy question too. I first took it from the other side of the fence, i.e. what’s a church doing going after government contracts; it’s a church, not a business, and what would the government be doing hiring a church? Provide hands on healing? Then I read your comment and thought about it for a while (Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him. (Prov 29:20) and considered a religious organization that provides humanitarian aid might want to house refugees and the government might currently be seeking such….
    Your final comment does, I believe, hold water: not having to pay property (and other) taxes would be a great advantage for a business.

Leave a Reply