Religious Exemption Sought

Religious and civic leaders urged President Obama to include a religious exemption in the planned White House executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In a letter on July 1, the group of 14 faith leaders, including the Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, and Stephan Bauman, president and chief executive officer of World Relief, said they agreed with the idea of “banning discrimination,” but they also asked 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.” The letter stressed the importance of a religious exemption in the planned executive order disqualifying organizations that do not hire lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Americans from receiving federal contracts. The letter pointed out that a religious exemption would simply maintain that religious organizations will not be automatically disqualified or disadvantaged in obtaining contracts because of their religious beliefs.


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