Indiana Passes Controversial Religious Freedom Act
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law drawing mixed reactions.
Indiana governor Mike Pence signed into law a controversial religious freedom bill. The bill’s opposition’s main contention with the bill protects business owners who wish to refuse service to same-sex couples.
The Indiana Bill
The bill, called the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”, was issued to address a national debate over the balance between religious liberty and anti-gay discrimination. As an example, the bill would be able to protect a jeweler who objects to providing rings for a same-sex couple’s marriage.
After signing the bill into law, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence quickly defended it at a press conference. “I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding [about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act]. This has never undermined anti-discrimination laws.” In regards to if sexual orientation mattered in regards to getting legal protections, Gov. Pence replied that that is not on his agenda.
— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) March 26, 2015
Support and Opposition
There are many supporters of the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” that state it will prevent the government from making business owners act in ways that go against deeply held religious beliefs. Basically, this means that any shops like bakeries or florists that wish to refuse service to same-sex couples will be safe.
A supporter of the bill, Micah Clark, who is the executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, tweeted after the bill was passed in the House on Monday that it was a “good, tested, protective shield for all faiths.” This morning, Clark also showed his support on social media after Pence signed the bill.
— AFA-IN (@AFAofIndiana) March 26, 2015
Other supporters say that the act of the bill being passed makes it so that religious freedom is bolstered, though those who oppose the bill will argue that it discriminates against gay couples. Gay marriage became legal in Indiana last year because of an appellate court ruling.
The opposition to the bill claim that it is actually a source of “religious discrimination”, and that it lets businesses, individuals, and organizations discriminate against same-sex couples and others using religion as just an excuse.
The controversial bill has drawn reactions from many different sources. Even Gen Con, a popular gaming convention, will consider changing their minds about choosing Indianapolis as the location for the convention because of the law.