Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Indiana backtracks on religious freedom law

I missed this one (sorry!) so here it is in case you missed it too.

Bowing to intense pressure about the new "religious freedom" law, coming from many quarters, the Indiana legislature passed another bill that was signed into law. (Snippets from

Indiana's social conservatives wanted a law that insulated them from the gay rights movement. Instead, the state has now enacted protections based on sexual orientation for the first time in its history.

Top Indiana Republican lawmakers overhauled their week-old religious freedom law Thursday with a follow-up measure intended to ease concerns driven by businesses that it could lead to discrimination. Gov. Mike Pence then signed it into law.

The changes appear to have tamped down some of the criticism -- but in doing so Pence and lawmakers infuriated social conservative activists and set the stage for a bigger fight next year over expanding Indiana's anti-discrimination law to cover gays and lesbians.

Here is what the new law does.

The changes prohibit businesses from using the law as a defense in court for refusing "to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing" to any customers based on "race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service."

And here is what it does not do.

It doesn't accomplish what the law's critics wanted most: Adding sexual orientation to the list of categories protected by Indiana's anti-discrimination law.

The Gov admits that the newest action is "best for Indiana."

"There will be some who think this legislation goes too far and some who think it does not go far enough, but as governor I must always put the interest of our state first and ask myself every day, 'What is best for Indiana?'" he said. "I believe resolving this controversy and making clear that every person feels welcome and respected in our state is best for Indiana."

Mike? Mike? So you originally thought opening the doors to discrimination under the cover of "religious freedom" was best for Indiana?

Makes you wonder about the Gov's principles.

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