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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media in the State Dining Room after meeting with BP executives about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, at the White House in Washington, June 16, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS DISASTER
Republicans in Congress aren't picking a fight—yet—over President Obama's plan to extend workplace protections to LGBT federal contract workers, to the chagrin of social conservative groups:
Not a single member of GOP leadership in the House or the Senate had anything to say about the president's forthcoming order. Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), confirmed that the office had not issued a statement. Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), had no comment. A request for comment from the conservative House Republican Study Committee was not returned. [...]

"Once the executive order is public, we expect conservative lawmakers to address it," said Carrie Gordon Earll, senior director of public policy at Focus on the Family. "In the meantime, there should be a considerable amount of 'pushback' from the Hill or the president [that will end up] advancing ENDA rather than an executive order."

A few Republicans did issue statements calling for the executive order to have exemptions for religious institutions. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), for instance, suggested "the same religious protections that are included in the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act that passed the Senate." Although one big difference between the Senate's ENDA and the coming executive order is that ENDA applies to all employers, whereas the executive order is about employers that get large amounts of federal money. It would be pretty simple for a religious institution to avoid being subject to an anti-discrimination executive order: just don't take federal money. It remains to be seen what Obama will do on this front, but my money is on him including some form of accommodation for religious groups, only to have Republicans decide that it's not a strong enough exemption and begin howling about that, in the spirit of their recent "religion is a solid excuse for putting bigotry in law" campaign.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:39 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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