Prominent social conservatives are furious with President Barack Obama for signing an anti-discrimination order on Monday prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.
What particularly set off the Christian right was that Obama refused to include an exemption for religious employers despite pressure from faith leaders, including a veteran of his 2012 reelection campaign.
“Today’s order disregards the consciences and liberties of people of goodwill who happen not to share the government’s opinions about issues of sexuality. All Americans should be free to contract with the government without penalty because of their reasonable beliefs about morally contentious issues,” wrote Ryan Anderson, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
Anderson said the president’s order, aimed at protecting employees on basis of sexual orientation or gender identity served to “enforce monolithic liberal secularism.” Obama’s executive order adds those two categories to color, race, sex, national origin and religious affiliation as metrics for nondiscrimination.
The Traditional Values Coalition, a social conservative lobbying group, was less restrained, fuming in a fundraising email that Obama was working to protect “she-males” at the expense of Christians.
“[H]e issued his executive order making gays, transgenders, and she-males protected classes among federal workers and contractors — refusing to include any religious exemption. In short, he told Christians that their religious liberty could take a long walk off a short pier,” Andrea Lafferty, the leader of the group, wrote.
“Democrats are demanding that Christians choose between their faith or their livelihoods,” she added.
The Family Research Council was similarly angry, accusing the president of “nothing less than viewpoint blackmail” in service of protecting “homosexual behavior.”
“President Obama gathered a group of LGBT activists at the White House to sign an executive order mandating that all federal contractors and subcontractors — regardless of their religious and moral convictions — give special treatment to homosexuals, transgenders, and cross-dressers in the workplace,” Tony Perkins, the president of the council, said in a statement. “This action is wrong on the merits, because it accepts the premise that distinctions based on actual conduct — such as homosexual behavior and cross-dressing — should be treated the same way as distinctions based on immutable and innocuous characteristics like race.”