The Republican party is using a backdoor measure to try to dismantle President Obama’s Executive Order of last year that requires that Federal Contractors cannot discriminate against LGBT employees
The measure, introduced by freshman Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) at 12:30 a.m. as the House Armed Services Committee prepared to pass the defense bill, would require the government to give religious organizations it signs contracts with exemptions in federal civil rights law and the Americans Disabilities Act.
Those laws do not ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. So the legislation would effectively override the executive order President Obama issued in 2014 prohibiting federal contractors from such discrimination.
The amendment provides an exemption for “any religious corporation, religious association, religious educational institution or religious society” contracting with the government. It quickly prompted heated exchanges between Russell and committee Democrats, who said it was purposefully unclear.
The measure, approved 33-29 on a mostly party-line vote at 2 a.m., could signal that the backlash in numerous states against LGBT anti-discrimination laws is now moving to Congress.
Russell (pictured above) also proposed a bill in the 2010 in the Oklahoma State Senate that was meant to exempt the state from having to abide by the then recently passed Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act on the basis of the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and owns Two Rivers Gun Factory.