Yesterday it was announced that President Obama plans to issue an executive order forbidding federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees. Today Sen. Orrin Hatch declared that he wants to create the same gaping religious loophole in the order that has caused several major LGBT rights groups to denounce ENDA.
“While the specifics of this executive order are not yet clear, I believe it must include the same religious protections that are included in the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act that passed the Senate,” Hatch said. “ENDA strikes a good balance to ensure that discrimination based on sexual orientation will not be tolerated, but also that one of our nation’s fundamental freedoms — religious freedom — is still upheld. The same must be said for any Obama Administration initiative on this issue.” Hatch offered the most pronounced reaction to the executive order among other Republicans federal lawmakers, who were largely silent when the White House made the news. In September, Hatch was among 10 Senate Republicans who voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, legislation that would bar LGBT discrimination among public and private employers, not just federal contractors. At the time, Hatch said he was able to support the legislation because of the bill’s religious exemption.
The wording of the executive order has not been revealed.
RELATED: Last month Hatch announced that nationwide marriage equality is a done deal and that any member of the GOP who feels otherwise just hasn’t been paying attention.