Hobby Lobby Fallout: Religious Leaders Want Exemption From Hiring Gays, Lesbians

As we reported the other day, Hobby Lobby is making big plans to open a huge store in North Seattle. And now, flush from their Supreme Court victory freeing them from providing birth-control coverage for their employees – because of religious convictions – a group of religious leaders fired off a letter to President Obama asking that he exempt them from a forthcoming executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people .

Clearly, the conservative Christian community is feeling the wind at its back, knowing that it may well have a majority of the high court in its pocket, willing to discriminate, not only against women, but against gays and lesbians as well.

Indeed, a slippery slope is quickly evolving.

If Hobby Lobby’s ownership can avoid having to offer birth control at no cost to its 33,000 workers -- under the argument that contraceptives cause abortions, thus making the mandate morally objectionable – what’s to stop the craft shop chain and other businesses from getting out from under federal requirements having to do with hiring practices?

The letter, first reported by The Atlantic, was sent on on Tuesday by 14 representatives, including the president of Gordon College, an Erie County, Pa., executive and the national faith vote director for Obama for America 2012, of the faith community.

“Without a robust religious exemption,” they wrote, “this expansion of hiring rights will come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity and religious freedom.”

The leaders noted that the Senate-passed Employment Non-Discrimination Act included a religious exemption:

“Our concern about an executive order without a religious exemption is about more than the direct financial impact on religious organizations. While the nation has undergone incredible social and legal change over the last decade, we still live in a nation with different beliefs about sexuality. We must find a way to respect diversity of opinion on this issue in a way that respects the dignity of all parties to the best of our ability. There is no perfect solution that will make all parties completely happy.”

 
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