On the radio this morning, I heard a story of a woman who was fired six months into her job with a church group because the group saw a picture of her with her partner. Up to that point, they had let her interact with their children and had no idea she was gay.
The story went on to explain how a bunch of religious (or "faith based") groups are all up in arms about how they should be allowed to fire gays and lesbians despite receiving federal funding. President Obama is likely to change the rules that President Bush set forth, which allowed religious organizations who receive federal money to discriminate based on religion and sexual orientation. Obama had said in his campaign that he didn't like seeing that happen.
My take on this is simple: it's fine that your group doesn't like gays and lesbians. No law outright says you have to like gays and lesbians and include them in what you do all the time. BUT… when you receive taxpayer money, and since gays and lesbians also pay taxes, you're out of luck. It's that simple. Either you don't take federal money, like how the Catholics used to do all the time before all the expensive scandals (and still mostly do), or you play ball and don't discriminate.
One of the arguments being made by these religious groups is that it's a violation of church and state to force them to act a certain way. That is accurate. But so is the act of funding religious organizations with federal money in the first place. If you look at it more closely, how strict are they? If religious groups know gays and lesbians pay taxes (at least, I hope they know that) and they know they're getting money from a federal grant, aren't they partially funded by gays and lesbians? Either way: gays and lesbians are helping your group. You're not completely excluding them, no matter how hard you try.
Religious groups also make the argument that "Well this would be like if they forced PETA to allow butchers to join." That, my friends, is a good example of hyperbole and false logic. Butchers hate animals and likely wouldn't want to join PETA (unless they wanted to take it down, I suppose), whereas a lesbian or gay man may still believe in religious principles. There are also laws protecting civil rights which get thrown in to the mix with the gay / lesbian argument; you're not violating a butcher's civil rights by saying "Hey, you can't join PETA because you completely stand against what we do by choice." Since being homosexual is a natural occurrence (despite whatever religious groups say), it has different protection than just saying "I choose to be a butcher and you have to let me join."
Don't forget: this is for groups that receive federal grant money. Private groups are still private groups.