Catholic Church Leaders Express Their Concerns Over Obama's Pending Executive Order on LGBT Employment

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone speaking at the March for Marriage rally in Washington, DC, on June 19, 2014. |

Roman Catholic officials have expressed concern over the pending executive order by President Barack Obama intending to end sexual orientation workplace discrimination for businesses with federal contracts.

A joint statement by chairmen within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released Friday expresses concern over the religious freedom implications of the executive order.

Refraining from what it called "substantive comment" on the matter, the statement was issued by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Thomas Wenski, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; Archbishop William E. Lori and Archbishop John Nienstedt, chairman of the Committee on Doctrine.

"Therefore, we view with great concern the reported intention of the President of the United States to issue an executive order forbidding what the administration considers "discrimination" based on 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity,'" read the statement.

"Because we do not know how the executive order will define these critically important terms, or if it will provide sufficient (or any) religious freedom protection, we cannot provide substantive comment on the order."

The statement also mentions the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a piece of legislation in Congress considered similar in its aims to Obama's pending executive order.

"On the other hand, when the U.S. Senate recently passed legislation on the same topic, we raised detailed objections to that legislation," read the statement.

"We intend to review the details of the executive order carefully once it is available, in order to assess whether it serves the dignity of the human person and the common good."

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Iraq from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington June 13, 2014. Obama said on Friday he will take several days to review options for how the United States can help Iraq deal with a militant insurgency, saying any action would need significant involvement by Iraq itself. |

Last week, Obama announced his intention to craft and sign an executive order barring employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for companies with federal contracts.

"Currently, no federal law bans discrimination against gay and transgender individuals," reported the Los Angeles Times.

"Twenty-one states, including California and Illinois, and the District of Columbia bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but in the remaining 29 states, employers are free to fire, demote or otherwise discriminate against workers solely on the basis of sexual orientation."

The news met with mixed reaction, as various LGBT advocacy groups hailed the announcement while social conservative groups denounced it.

Fred Sainz, vice president of communications and marketing at the Human Rights Campaign, told The Christian Post in an earlier interview that he believed the proposed executive order "provides much needed protections."

"The proposed executive order provides much needed protections to American workers who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender," said Sainz.

"The most American value of them all is to work and provide for your family and this executive order will provide protections to ensure that can happen."

Sainz told CP that concerns by some about religious liberty protections were "premature" given that there is no present draft of the executive order.

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