Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Indiana Poised to Legalize Discrimination
Indiana has passed a "Religious Freedom" bill, inspired by the national "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" in the state house. Gov. Pence (a Republican) has stated his intention to sign the bill.
Similar to the Arizona bill, this law will prevent any business or individual's religious beliefs from being "significantly burdened" by the government. No lawsuit can be brought up against a business or individual if the defense uses "deeply held beliefs" as an excuse for their actions. Fortunately, Arizona's Gov. Brewer vetoed the bill due to the national outcry against it.
This is primarily an attempt to undermine LGBT citizens, allowing (usually Christians) to deny products, services, housing, and associations with them because their lifestyle violates their beliefs. But this also may include other situations, like allowing Jehovah Witness doctors to refuse performing or prescribing blood transfusions, or permitting Police to opt out of securing a Muslim event.
The detrimental possibilities of letting religion trump law is frightful. Large companies, like Apple, Amazon, and Wal-Mart oppose these laws because they hurt business in places where some groups, like gay people, might not feel welcome. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce fears the law will rip the state's desire to be welcoming to people and business.
HRC and the ACLU both oppose the law and will fight to prevent it and other similar laws from passing.