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Published On: Wed, Jul 23rd, 2014

President Obama signs executive order to protect LGBT workers, ‘endangers’ religious freedom

President Obama’s latest executive order cements the administration’s efforts to normalize LGBT in the workforce and society and putting more pressure on organizations which do not condone homosexuality. Some critics are saying the move ignores religious leaders and “endangers” institutions’ freedoms.

From the East Room of the White House on Tuesday, Obama explained how, because of their “passionate advocacy and the irrefutable rightness of [their] cause, our government — government of the people, by the people, and for the people — will become just a little bit fairer.”

President Barack Obama delivers remarks before he signs an executive order regarding further amendments to Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government, and Executive Order 11246, Equal Employment Opportunity, to protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination, in the East Room of the White House, July 21, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)  .

President Barack Obama delivers remarks before he signs an executive order regarding further amendments to Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government, and Executive Order 11246, Equal Employment Opportunity, to protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination, in the East Room of the White House, July 21, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
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“It doesn’t make much sense,” President Obama said of the language in Executive Order 11246, issued by President Lyndon B. Johnson,  now adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories , “but today in America, millions of our fellow citizens wake up and go to work with the awareness that they could lose their job, not because of anything they do or fail to do, but because of who they are — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. And that’s wrong.”

The President also pointed out that workplace equality is simply good business. Noting that most of the Fortune 500 companies already have nondiscrimination policies on their books, he explained that these policies help companies attract and retain the best talent.

“Despite all that,” he said, “in too many states and in too many workplaces, simply being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender can still be a fireable offense. There are people here today who’ve lost their jobs for that reason.”

Fox News columnist Todd Starnes was among the first to criticize the move. “The executive order would prevent Christian and other religious organizations with federal contracts from requiring workers to adhere to the tenets of their religious beliefs. Christianity Today reports the order could impact religious non-profits such as World Vision, World Relief and Catholic Charities.”

“If religious organizations cannot require that their employees conduct themselves in ways consistent with the teachings of their faith – then, essentially, those organizations are unable to operate in accordance with their faith,” Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council, told Starnes.

 

 

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