• Source: White House
  • President Obama Signs Non-Discrimination Order With No Religious Exemptions

    President Obama made history this morning, signing an executive order barring federal contractors from discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

    There are no religious exemptions in the executive order President Obama signed this morning in a formal ceremony at the White House. From this day forward, no federal contractor, no matter how religious he claims to be, will be allowed to discriminate against an employee because of sexual orientation or gender identity.  

    Today President Obama amended Executive Order 11246, which already prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the order.

    Today President Obama amended Executive Order 11478 prohibiting discrimination in the federal civilian workplace, which already includes sexual orientation, to include gender identity.

    Saying "Our government - government of the people, by the people and for the people - will become just a little bit fairer," President Obama set strong new standards for federal contractors, which employ 20 percent of the American workforce. Under these executive orders, an estimated 14 million more American workers will be now be protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

    The Human Rights Campaign reports that the manner in which the White House chose to extend LGBT workplace protections will make them very difficult for a future administration to reverse:

    In the part that applies to federal contractors, the Obama administration declined to create a separate carve-out or standard for LGBT employees. Instead, the President elected to narrowly amend Executive Order 11246, first signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965—placing sexual orientation and gender identity on equal footing with race, color, religion, sex and national origin, and thus making these protections virtually politically impossible for a future administration to undo. 

    Fears that the president would include a religious exemption that would allow federal contractors to excuse their discrimination toward LGBT workers proved unfounded. Though more than 140 religious leaders requested an exemption, the White House declined to include one. 

    The Rev. Fred Davie, Executive Vice President at Union Theological Seminary, who was a guest at the signing this morning, declared the lack of a religious exemption a great victory:

    “This is a tremendous victory for those of us who believe that as people of faith we should be exemplary, not exempted. Religions of the world across the ages have engendered and supported discrimination and bigotry from deceptively genteel to utterly horrific. We have also sacrificed our very lives for our neighbors in response to God’s radical and unrelenting call to love others as much as we love ourselves.”

    In response to the executive order, HRC president Chad Griffin issued the following statement:

    “With this action, President Obama has cemented his legacy as a transformative leader. Consistently, this administration has taken unprecedented and historic executive actions to advance LGBT equality in this country and around the world."

     

    UPDATES:

    Watch: President Obama Signs Historic Executive Orders Banning Anti-LGBT Discrimination

    Religious Right Anger At Obama For Signing LGBT Non-Discrimination Order Reaches New Extremes

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    Showing 11 comments

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    • commented 2014-07-22 11:25:19 -0400
      @randall Hughes All men are created equal, but they are not treated that way, That’s why we need the EO.

    • commented 2014-07-21 22:35:37 -0400
      Just add Illegal Aliens to that list and you’ll cover all of your bases. The obvious way around that is not to take Federal Money for anything, then you can hire who you want, when you want, and pay what you want.

    • commented 2014-07-21 19:56:29 -0400
      Wait, if “All men are created equal” Why does there need to be an EO? Seems redundant no?

    • commented 2014-07-21 17:45:38 -0400
      There should be NO RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS to any general applicable laws.

    • posted about this on Facebook 2014-07-21 16:10:38 -0400
      President Obama Signs Non-Discrimination Order With No Religious Exemptions #lgbt #gay

    • commented 2014-07-21 15:19:22 -0400
      Thank you, Mr President.

    • commented 2014-07-21 15:18:10 -0400
      Eugene Todie: The original Executive Order, signed by President Johnson in 1965, covers Religion.

    • commented 2014-07-21 14:56:44 -0400
      This is nonsense. Employers can’t “discriminate” in respect to religion but the government can?

    • commented 2014-07-21 12:57:11 -0400
      Kristine Weibel: Thank you for your comment.

      As I understand this, the president added LGBT protection to two bills that already included race, color, religion, sex and national origin. I think that would protect everyone – except for age (hopefully that’s included, as it should be).

      If this doesn’t speak to “the rest of us” as you meant it, please explain.

    • commented 2014-07-21 12:00:04 -0400
      I think this is great but…what about the rest of us?

    • commented 2014-07-21 11:31:34 -0400
      I love how he slammed Congress for not doing anything for 40 years! He has had about enough of crap from this lazy congress and the last congress. I am so glad and proud. It’s a damn shame we can’t vote for him again.
      Thank you Mr. President for being fair and working for all Americans.
      This may make a big dent in the GOP platform. I don’t know if they can hang on to their anti-gay plank when the federal government recognizes our marriages and fairness in the workplace.

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