Interfaith Leaders Ask Obama to Not Include Religious Exemption in Executive Order
On Tuesday, 100 religious leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and interfaith organizations signed a letter to President Barack Obama, asking him to not include a religious exemption in the executive order he plans to enact that will bar workplace discrimination against LGBT individuals.
The letter in part reads:
Dear Mr. President:
As faith and civic leaders dedicated to affirming the sacred dignity and equal worth of every person, we are grateful for your upcoming executive order ending discrimination against LGBT people in hiring by federal contractors. We urge you not to include a religious exemption in the executive order. In keeping with the principle that our government must adhere to the highest standards of ethics and fairness in its own operations, we believe that public dollars should not be used to sanction discrimination.
An executive order that allows for religious discrimination against LGBT people contradicts the order’s fundamental purpose, as well as the belief shared by more and more Americans every day, which is that LGBT people should not be treated as second-class citizens. An exception would set a terrible precedent by denying true equality for LGBT people, while simultaneously opening a Pandora’s Box inviting other forms of discrimination.
..we believe ensuring that federal contractors do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in their hiring helps to reduce the likelihood that these contractors will discriminate against clients or other parties in the provision of services. [...] We believe that the best way to eliminate discrimination at one level is to reduce discrimination at all levels.
The letter comes nearly two weeks after the conservative religious right-wing Institute for Religious Freedom Alliance (IRFA) organized over 100 religious leaders to sign onto a letter urging President Obama to allow for businesses with government contracts who claim religious affiliation to be exempt from the LGBT nondiscrimination executive order.
The letter organized by IRFA sent June 25, in part read: