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PHOENIX (LifeSiteNews) – As her first official act, Arizona’s new Democrat Gov. Katie Hobbs signed an executive order Tuesday forbidding “discrimination” on the basis of sexual orientation or “gender identity” for state agencies, which critics say could have dangerous implications for religious adoption and foster programs.

The Epoch Times reports that Hobbs signed Executive Order 2023-01, which requires the Arizona Department of Administration to ensure, by April 1, that no state agency is using “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” as factors for employment decisions.

“Today marks a new era in Arizona, where my Administration will work to build an Arizona for everyone,” she declared in a press release, framing the order as part of her “First 100 Days Initiative, which will center around tackling the biggest challenges facing Arizonans, like making our state more affordable and sustainable.”

The order also extends to new state contracts, which critics say would imperil the right of religious entities that work with the state to hire only people that share the tenets of their faith, in violation of existing state religious liberty protections. Last year, Arizona enacted SB 1399, a state law that expressly prohibits discrimination against faith-based foster and adoption agencies.

“The Hobbs executive order appears to violate the constitutional rights of faith-based agencies,” Center for Arizona Policy president Cathi Herrod told KAWC. “That law should take precedence over any executive order. The question is, does the state want to continue to have faith-based agencies providing such critical foster care and adoption services? I think we do.”

The new Hobbs order and the priorities it represents are among the first of many ramifications for her defeat of Republican challenger Kari Lake, in a bitterly contentious election that dueling right-of-center factions have blamed on alleged election fraud in Maricopa County and on messaging missteps by Lake, respectively.