For Immediate Release
Contact: Paul Fidalgo
Phone: (207) 358-9785
July 21, 2014
The Center for Inquiry, an organization which advances science, reason, and secular values, has been urging President Barack Obama not to include a religious exemption in his Executive Order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT Americans – whether or not those contractors consider themselves “religious” or “religiously affiliated.” Today, the president indeed signed the order without those religious exemptions.
Michael De Dora, director of CFI’s Office of Public Policy had this to say about the signing of the new Executive Order, which amends Executive Orders 11246 and 11478:
“We applaud President Obama for issuing an Executive Order that will protect LGBT Americans from discrimination by federal contractors. We are especially relieved and encouraged that the president has chosen not to bend once again to the enormous pressure applied by religious interests, but has recognized that, at the very least, taxpayer funded work must never be done under the shadow of discrimination. This will ensure that all LGBT individuals are protected—including those who work for federal contractors that consider themselves religious.
“Too often religious beliefs are used as an excuse to avoid obeying laws that apply to everyone else, as the regrettable Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case illustrates. While there is still room for improvement in this new order – the president has once again refused to close a Bush-era loophole that allows religiously affiliated federal contractors to favor individuals of the same faith when hiring – it is a welcome step in the right direction, toward a secular government in which religion can’t be used as a shield for prejudice and unequal treatment.”
CFI was among at least 98 organizations asking the president not to include the religious exemption language, which was sought by a variety of religious groups and leaders.
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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. CFI‘s web address is www.centerforinquiry.net.