Though the Hobby Lobby decision specifically said it applied only to contraception, a group of "religious" employers are already seeking an exemption to President Obama's executive order protecting LGBT workers.
A group of religious leaders has decided to strike while the Hobby Lobby decision is hot. The Supreme Court ruling giving companies "closely held" by religious owners the right to refuse to provide contraception coverage for their employees was announced on Monday. On Tuesday, a group of religious leaders figuring to capitalize on that decision delivered a letter to the White House, seeking exemptions from the executive order the president announced last week, which will protect LGBT workers from discrimination by any employer doing business with Uncle Sam.
The Washington Times reports that letter was organized by Michael Wear, who was director of the Obama campaign's "faith outreach" in 2012. Although the letter did not specifically mention the Hobby Lobby decision, Mr. Wear was not as coy, telling reporters because of Hobby Lobby's victory:
"The administration does have a decision to make whether they want to recalibrate their approach to some of these issues."
The letter asks that religious organizations and employers be exempted from any workplace discrimination order protecting LGBT workers, saying:
"We are asking that an extension of protection for one group not come at the expense of faith communities whose religious identity and beliefs motivate them to serve those in need."
"Without a robust religious exemption his expansion of hiring rights will come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity and religious freedom.”
Translation: It is better to fire a gay man than to tell a religious man his bigotry requires oversight.
I suppose firing gay people - or refusing to hire them - sounds better when framed as respecting a "diversity of opinion" but it comes down to the same shameful fact: there are people who claim to be followers of Jesus who want government permission to treat others as they surely would not want to be treated themselves.
There has been no response from the White House so far, so we can only hope the president is not intimidated into abandoning his promise to sign a non-discrimination order that applies to everyone.
"This is not an antagonistic letter by any means." Claims Michael Wear.
Something tells me Mr. Wear might not feel that way had he been born gay.
Image: DOMA hearing, 2013. Photo by Murray Lipp, Gay Marriage USA via Facebook