In the wake of the controversial decision by the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case, religious leaders are demanding that they get the same protections under the law that was given to “closely-held” corporations regarding abortificants.
On Monday the Supreme Court ruled that “closely-held” corporations can’t be required to provide coverage for four of the contraceptive methods on the market that induce abortion because it goes against their religious beliefs. The court cited the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 as their justification for striking down the contraceptive mandate, saying that the government can’t substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion.
On Tuesday, a group of faith leaders demanded Obama give them a preemptive exemption for faith-based groups from an executive order that will prohibit federal contractors from using their religious beliefs in their hiring practices.
“We are asking that an extension of protection for one group not come at the expense of faith communities whose religious identity and beliefs motivate them to serve those in need,” the letter read.
The faith leaders who sent the letter have both worked for and in the White House, and they stressed that they weren’t being “antagonistic.” However following the decision in the Hobby Lobby case, “the administration does have a decision to make whether they want to recalibrate their approach to some of these issues.”
The former co-chair of Catholics for Obama, Stephen Schneck, said, “I am a very strong supporter of LGBT rights, and I am really excited about the prospect of extending provisions against discrimination in federal contracts.”
“But I am also aware that this is an issue that provokes real differences among some of the most important religious organization on the front lines of providing care for the poorest and most vulnerable.”
Obama’s executive order hasn’t been signed yet, however Congress’s Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which is what inspired Obama’s executive order, includes exemptions for faith-based organizations under the same protections the Religious freedom Restoration Act gives.