WASHINGTON – Following President Barack Obama’s signing of an executive order barring discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance, issued this statement:

“The president’s decision to bar discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity demonstrates his compassion for those Americans who fear discrimination; his decision not to include a new religious exemption is a testament to his understanding of religious freedom. We cannot secure the separation of church and state if religious organizations are allowed to use federal money to pursue a sectarian agenda.  This executive order is an important step toward ensuring that public money does not fund religiously motivated discrimination.”

“While I whole-heartedly applaud the president’s action today, I am disappointed that he did not go further to undo the provisions that President George W. Bush signed allowing for religious organizations to discriminate against people of other religions in their hiring. I was deeply moved by the way the faith community mobilized to support this executive order: 100 faith leaders demanded that there not be a religious exemption; countless religious and civil rights organizations joined together to urge a comprehensive executive order; and thousands of people of faith from across the country added their voice to the call. It is my sincere hope that we can keep up this energy, maintain this momentum, as we continue the unfinished work of ending government-funded religious discrimination and protecting the rights of all LGBT workers in America.”

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.