Monday morning, President Obama signed an executive order which aims to protect LGBT employees of federal contractors. The order will protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have laws protecting LGBT workers from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The executive order will expand previous measures meant to protect federal employees to the 28 million workers employed by federal contractors, which account for about 20 percent of the nation’s workforce.
Though many applaud the president’s actions, others, including Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), do not believe the order does enough to protect religious organizations.
In a statement, Hatch said the executive order’s lack of an exemption for religious groups shows “the Obama administration’s consistent disregard for religious liberty.” He added, “In seeking to curtail unjust discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, we must ensure that legal protections do not trample upon basic religious liberties.”
The president worked with various religious and LGBT groups on the order before it was signed. Though it does not have a specific exemption, it does preserve a provision allowing religious groups to use religion as a hiring factor.