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Over 100 “Religious Leaders” Petition Obama To Put Religious Exemption In Upcoming LGBT Executive Order

exec orderWhile everyone is waiting to see if President Obama and the White House will add a “religious exemption” in a pending executive order which aims to protect LGBT government contract workers from discrimination.  About 120 so called “religious leaders” including: Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Christian Hispanic Leadership Conference; Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland-A Church Distributed; and Franklin Graham, president and CEO of The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association have signed a letter circulated by the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance (aka. the anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund) , to add a religious exemption to the pending order and also recommends the religious freedom protections that the Senate accepted in November 2013’s Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) bill (which is extremely broad) is not good enough and have asked for additional protections. The letter, in part states that religious organizations that contract with the government to provide such services as overseas relief and development with USAID will be harmed by the EO.

“Often are the best-qualified applicants for federal contracts or subcontracts. It would be counterproductive to bar them from offering their services to the federal government simply because of their legally protected religious convictions; it would be wrong to require them to violate those legally protected convictions in order to be eligible to receive federal contracts. Their exclusion from federal contracting would be diametrically opposed to the Administration’s commitment to having ‘all hands on deck’ in the fight against poverty and other dire social problems.”

In 2008 President Obama campaigned against the Bush-era discrimination policy, that allowed faith based services to receive federal monies and contracts. Said Obama: “If you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them — or against the people you hire — on the basis of their religion.” Now the question is. will President Obama keep his campaign promise and not allow discrimination, bigotry and hate to hide under the banner of “religion”

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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