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“Freedom of Religion” bill passes the Indiana House Judiciary Committee

Opponents of SB 101 protest in Indiana

“Freedom of Religion” bill passes the Indiana House Judiciary Committee

Photo shows opponents of SB 101 rallying against the bill

Indiana’s controversial “Freedom of Religion” bill, which allows business owners and employers to opt-out of providing services to people they believe have same-sex attractions or relationships, was moved out of committee and cleared for a full vote by a strong majority.

WTHR has video covering the protest–and counter-protest–which occurred at the State House in Indianapolis today.

13 WTHR Indianapolis

The bill has passed both the State Senate and this Committee, and now goes to the full house for a vote. The Governor has already stated his intention to pass the bill if it reaches his desk.

The bill aims to allow individuals to discriminate in business on the basis of religious differences, and protects dissenters from adverse effect; critics argue that it lets individuals make discriminatory decisions that would violate Federal laws. One example used by critics is that police officers could refuse to patrol near religious institutions different from their own, and be protected from disciplinary action.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill on the grounds that it would expose many companies to litigation from their employers.

Do you think the bill will pass? What will happen when the Supreme Court finally takes up the legality of State bans of weddings between same-sex couples?

 

Posted by David Streever

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Paul Powers
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Paul Powers

For those who are interested, the bill's text, which doesn't specifically refer to sexual orientation or gender identity, can be found at https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/senate/101#document-55cfd293.

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Susan Forsburg
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Susan Forsburg

In the state of Washington, during their arguments about marriage equality, the same kinds of questions came up. A reporter asked the staff member of an anti-equality legislator who endorsed these kinds of laws, what would happen if in a small town the only market refused to sell food to a gay couple? "They could grow their own", was the reply. And yes, they walked it back, but that's what they mean.

I am waiting for the florist to refuse to supply flowers because it's a second marriage. or because it's two atheists and there is no "God" in the ceremony. Or because the bride phoned from work, and everyone knows a woman's place is in the home. Or is it just LGBT people who are such awful sinners they must be avoided?

Well, we know the answer--a reporter in Oregon phoned the protesting florist on several occasions and asked for a cake for a divorce party (no problem!) , celebrating cloning stem cells (sure!), multiple children out of wedlock (yes!) and a pagan solstice party with a pentagram (absolutely!) (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/30/sweet-cakes-by-melissa-oregon_n_3355314.html)

It's only the gay people who are the problem. And that's the problem.

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Member

Adding to the murk of this is that question of what is or is not a "religious belief." In considering this past year requests for exemption from mandatory flu vaccination on religious grounds, we were advised by counsel that the issue is more sincerity than content. That is, the SCOTUS language of "sincerely held religious belief" in the Hobby Lobby case was a reflection of previous decisions in Federal cases, and not a new position. There is similar language in EEOC materials. So, yes, it could come down to an individual employee, even if there wasn't an issue for the employer.

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Christopher Donald
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Christopher Donald

The key will be making sexual orientation a protected class, like gender, age, and race. In certain states it already is. The ultimate solution of course would be an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but given the politics that is unlikely.

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Diane Corlett
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Diane Corlett

Shades of the Greensboro sit ins. I don't understand how the police or,presumably, firefighters or emergency responders could be allowed to fail to respond to anyone. They are payed by taxpayers, not private customers. Ah well. No logic in the bill anyway. This isn't a real establishment of religion issue anyway, so who knows how the bushfires will blow

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