Supporters hope to thwart religious exemption in pro-LGBT directive
By CHRIS JOHNSONcjohnson@washblade.com
A growing number of voices are calling on President Obama to omit a religious exemption in his planned executive order barring anti-LGBT discrimination among federal contractors.A trio of letters in the span of two days — one from lawmakers, one from civil rights organizations and another from law professors — make the case to Obama that including a carve-out in his upcoming directive for religious organizations would be unprecedented and leave the most vulnerable LGBT workers open to discrimination.That stands in contrast to a group of faith leaders, including Catholic Charities USA and Saddleback
Church pastor Rick Warren, who sent a diﬀerent letter
calling for an exemption in the executive order to allow religious organizations to continue to receive federal contracts while being able to discriminate against LGBT workers.On Tuesday, a group of 32 House Democrats led by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) sent a letter to Obama saying the executive order should be signed “as soon as possible without exemptions.”“Creating a religious exemption for workplace discrimination would set a dangerous precedent for employees around the country. With this exemption,
employers would be able to ﬁre or refuse to hire
someone based on his or her sexual orientation
The Blade takes a road trip as Mississippi debuts new anti-gay law
By MICHAEL K. LAVERSmlavers@washblade.com
: As part of our special yearlong coverage of poverty in the LGBT community, the Blade sent a reporter and photographer to Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. Their reports begin with this look at business reaction to a new law allowing anti-LGBT discrimination.
JACKSON, Miss. — Mitchell Moore, owner of Campbell’s Bakery in the Fondren neighborhood of Jackson, was at home late on April 1 when he read a Facebook post from a lesbian friend that had a “frantic feel to it.”The Mississippi House of Representatives in a 79-43 vote had just passed Senate Bill 2681 — the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act — that activists argue would allow businesses to deny services to LGBT people based on their religious beliefs.The Mississippi Senate quickly followed suit in a late-night vote.“I was like why would they do this?” Moore told the Washington Blade last week during an interview at his bakery, referring to previous incidents of bakers and
JULY 18 2014 VOLUME 45 ISSUE 29 •
CELEBRATING 45 YEARS AS AMERICA’S GAY NEWS SOURCE
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This restaurant in Laurel, Miss., is among more than 1,000 businesses across the state that have joined a
campaign against an anti-gay law that took eﬀect on July 1.
WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY
A look at D.C.’s best places to care for your furry friends.
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