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Gay Couples Couldn’t Demand Business Services Under Indiana Bill

Cake for a lesbian couple.

None

Cake for a lesbian couple.

Mark Stricherz - published on 03/26/15

State's lower chamber approved the legislation Thursday; gays allege discrimination

The Indiana House of Representatives approved legislation Monday that would allow businesses and individuals to refuse to provide services to gay couples. According to USA Today, the legislation was controversial:

Senate Bill 101 would prevent state and local governments from "substantially burdening" a person’s exercise of religion unless the government can prove it has a compelling interest and is doing so in the least restrictive means.

Supporters say the measure would protect people and business owners with strong religious beliefs from government intrusion.

"It’s important that we allow our citizens to hold religious beliefs, maybe even those we might be appalled by, and to be able to express those," said Rep. Tom Washburne, R-Inglefield.

Opponents say it would license discrimination, particularly against gays and lesbians.

"It basically says to a group of people you’re second rate, you don’t matter, and if you walk into my store, I don’t have to serve you," said Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City.

Social conservatives have pushed hard for such measures across the country following recent federal court rulings that legalized same-sex marriage in Indiana and other states.

The proposal is modeled on a 22-year-old federal law known as the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. That law played a key role in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that allowed Hobby Lobby and other closely held corporations with religious objections to opt out of an Affordable Care Act requirement that they cover certain contraceptives for women.


Thomas L. McDonald, a religious blogger,
lampooned the claims of gay-marriage supporters that the legislation was unjust discrimination.

Can you imagine the nightmare reality such protections would unleash? People might actually need to … 
choose another caterer. It’s like Selma all over again.



Hey, remember when gay marriage wasn’t going to have any effect at all on people with deeply held religious convictions? Yeah, that was a lie, and we all knew it was. Christian bakers or caterers who decline to serve a gay wedding (not a gay 
person, mind you: a gay 
wedding) in violation of their beliefs must be 
stripped of their business and sent to 
re-education camps.

The
Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson said the legislation opens the door to fringe religious group discriminating against gays:

First, this would open the floodgates for citizens/corporations to exempt themselves from all kinds of laws, merely by claiming that it violates their religious beliefs. Now, we are presumably not just talking about your common, everyday, vanilla, mainstream religions (think Methodists, Presbyterians, Unitarians, Reform and Conservative Jews). 

Such a law would, presumably, also protect members of the Westboro Baptist Church with its “God hates Fags” approach; the crazy, renegade Mormon man and his 25 wives; Satan worshippers; and Scientologists. Almost anything passes for “religion” in this country, and there would be no end to the appeals for exemption following certain laws based on the tenets of one’s religion, no matter how small and no matter how outside the mainstream that religion.

Tags:
HomosexualityPoliticsReligious Freedom
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