No religious exemption in Obama executive order on discriminating against LGBT workers

President Obama will sign an executive order on Monday barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers. There will be no exemption for companies with religious objections to hiring gays.

New York Times:

The order will also, for the first time, explicitly protect federal employees from discrimination on the basis of gender identity, officials said. Federal workers are already protected based on their sexual orientation.

Gay groups stepped up their already intense campaign to persuade Mr. Obama to sign the order after the Supreme Court’s decision last month in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores case. In that ruling, the court said that family-run corporations with religious objections could be exempted from providing employees with insurance coverage for contraception, and there were fears that the case would have repercussions for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.

“With the strokes of a pen, the president will have a very real and immediate impact on the lives of millions of L.G.B.T. people across the country,” Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement on Friday. “These actions from the president have the potential to be a keystone in the arch of his administration’s progress, and they send a powerful message to future administrations and to Congress that anti-L.G.B.T. discrimination must not be tolerated.”

Religious groups had sought the exemption to ensure that they would not lose federal money or contracts if they could not meet the new guidelines because of their beliefs.

Galen Carey, the vice president of government relations for the National Association of Evangelicals, said he expected the president’s executive order would lead to a lengthy and expensive legal fight.

“It would be better if the president could provide leadership that promotes tolerance all the way around,” Mr. Carey said, “rather than use the force of the state.”

He said the exemption would have protected the groups’ freedom and “social harmony as our nation is working through these issues, on which there’s a lot of disagreement.”

The directive is the latest example of Mr. Obama acting unilaterally after legislation on a domestic priority was stymied by Republican opposition on Capitol Hill. His executive orders have angered Republicans, and Speaker John A. Boehner is preparing a lawsuit to protest the president’s moves.

Mr. Obama warned last month that he was prepared to act on his own to extend the protections because the drive in Congress for a national anti-bias law to cover nearly all employers, a bill known as the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, had stalled.

The "gender identify" crowd will be pleased. You probably haven't noticed but we've gone far beyond simple male-female designations of gender. The gender identity movement is redefining the male-female "binary" gender by creating other genders - or pushing the idea that you can be no gender at all. The president is about to sign an executive order that says biology doesn't mean anything - that people get to choose their gender based on whatever criteria they see fit to use.

There is a scientific basis for transgenderism - babies born biologically female with the brain of a male and vice versa. But it is incredibly rare - perhaps one live birth for every 50,000 babies born. It may even be rarer than that. Protecting the notion that someone can choose their gender will open a legal can of worms we will be decades sorting out.

Not being able to discriminate against someone so addled and confused they don't know what gender they are is only the beginning. Next comes the transgender bathrooms - or gender confused people getting the legal right to use whatever bathroom they feel like. Other accommodations to follow.

Social change does not come at the stroke of a pen. All this executive order will do is muddy the waters - both for people of faith and the LGBT community.

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