Faith Groups to Obama: Let Us Discriminate Against Gays

They want Obama to grant them a 'robust' exemption in executive order

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 9, 2014 9:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – In the wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling, another faith-based issue for President Obama: Religious group leaders—including Michael Wear, the man who led the president’s faith-outreach initiative in 2012—are spearheading an effort that seeks a "robust" exemption for religious organizations from Obama’s still-unsigned anti-bias executive order, which will prohibit discrimination against gays and lesbians who work for federal contractors, reports the New York Times. A July 1 letter sent to the president and labeled as a request from "friends of the administration" asks Obama to ensure the protection of religious service organizations, such as not denying government funding to a charity group that refuses to hire an openly gay leader.

The letter (a follow-up to one sent on June 25) was organized by Wear—who says he’s an "ardent [Obama] supporter" and gay-rights advocate—and signed by other leaders in the faith community, including the CEO of Catholic Charities and pastor Rick Warren, who delivered the president’s first inauguration invocation. "We’re not trying to support crazy claims of religious privilege," Wear tells the Times. Instead, they simply want the government to continue to support groups that adhere to "employee moral conduct standards" that might clash with the order. Gay-rights groups responded yesterday by asking Obama to sign the executive order as quickly as possible.

President Barack Obama listens as he meets with five people who wrote him letters at Wazee Supper Club on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Denver.
President Barack Obama listens as he meets with five people who wrote him letters at Wazee Supper Club on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Denver.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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