I am not sure Gov. Mike Pence and the state of Indiana expected quite the outcry when they passed and signed into law a controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In fact, the Governor is already saying he plans to introduce a clarification of the law and that if the law was about discrimination he wouldn’t have signed it. He is not saying yet what that clarification would include. According to Lambda Legal:
If he and Indiana’s elected
leadership want to be taken seriously and to fix public perception
of their state, they can — and must — take two simple
- Pass a law to include gay and transgender people within Indiana’s existing statewide nondiscrimination rules.
- Add this language to the new religion law: “This chapter does not establish or eliminate a defense to a claim under any federal, state or local law protecting civil rights or preventing discrimination.
Backlash to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. has included:
Thousands of people gathering in
downtown Indianapolis on Saturday to protest the passage of the
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray prohibiting
municipal employees from traveling to Indiana on city funds. Murray
said Indiana’s new law “doesn’t reflect the values” of Seattle.
Angie’s List announcing it is
canceling a $40 million headquarters expansion. According to
co-founder and chief executive officer Bill Oesterle the decision
is a direct result of passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration
Act. “Angie’s List is open to all and discriminates against none,
and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents.”
Indiana’s law is not the end of the issue either. According to the Advocate Magazine: “It’s too late to stop Indiana’s new “turn-away-the-gays” legislation. Governor Mike Pence has signed it into law. But nearly half of the states are considering similar bills, some of which go even further.” There are already many states that have some sort of religious freedom or religious liberty legislation. There is a difference, though, because many of these other states, including Washington, have anti-discrimination laws that include lesbian, gay, and bisexual folks (and some include transgender folks).