Bil Browning

Obama to Sign ENDA EO Tomorrow Without Exemptions

Filed By Bil Browning | July 20, 2014 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, ENDA executive order, Hobby Lobby, religious exemptions

bigstock-Discrimination-Underlined-With-31333808.jpgPresident Obama will sign an executive order on Monday that bars government contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees. While anti-gay religious leaders have been urging the White House to include exceptions that would allow them to discriminate based on "sincerely held religious beliefs," the administration says no exemptions will be included.

White House officials said Friday that the new executive order would not include such an exception. But Obama will preserve an exemption put in place by former president George W. Bush that allows religiously affiliated contractors to favor employees of a certain religion in making hiring decisions.

Gay rights organizations have criticized that earlier exemption, and they celebrated news Friday that Obama would not be broadening it.
The order protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is the latest administration policy to become embroiled in a debate over religious rights. In a blow to Obama's health-care law last month, the Supreme Court ruled that family-owned businesses do not have to offer contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the owners' religious beliefs.

Several LGBT organizations have recently pulled their support for ENDA since it includes broad religious exemptions. Following the Hobby Lobby decision, the exemptions could potentially allow companies to discriminate by citing the owner's religious beliefs.

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