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 celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.