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Faith Leaders fear for religious liberty in US

Religious RallyDespite pleas from faith leaders in the US, Obama will not include a new exemption for religiously affiliated government contractors that will protect them against the barring of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The new executive order for the Employment Non Discrimination Act applies to “sex, sexual orientation (and) gender identity, many say this even includes behaviour not simply status.
President Obama has resisted calls from several prominent faith leaders who have requested that he include an exemption for government contractors with a religious affiliation such as some social service agencies.
Many religious leaders asked Obama not to afford ‘an extension of protection for one group that would be at the expense of faith communities whose religious identity and beliefs motivate them to serve those in need.
Despite this, the White House officials stated that the new executive order will not include such an exemption. Obama, however, will preserve an exemption that allows religiously affiliated contractors to favour employees of a certain religion in making hiring decisions.
Many have expressed concern that the new order is just a sign of things to come in the US, faith leaders might be stripped of all religious liberty in the future and could be ordered by law to conduct gay marriages even if it goes against their faith. A situation that faith leaders in Denmark are now facing.
Gay rights organizations celebrated the news on Friday, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group commented:
“With the strokes of a pen, the president will have a very real and immediate impact on the lives of millions of LGBT people across the country.”
A statement from Michael War, former Obama faith adviser urged him to include a religious exemption, he expressed concern about the lack of clarity the new executive order has created.
“We risk opening up the doors for litigation that leaves both LGBT Americans and religious organizations uncertain and unprotected.”
The Catholic League for religious and civil rights commented:
“The heart of the problem is (a) the mad idea that sexuality is a social construction, when, in fact, it is rooted in nature, and (b) an unyielding hostility to religious liberty.”



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