Controversy in Indiana over new law

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence gave support for the law, saying he “support[s] the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith,” according to MSNBC. Photo provided by Gage Skidmore via flickr
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence gave support for the law, saying he “support[s] the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith,” according to MSNBC.
Photo provided by Gage Skidmore via flickr
Last month, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Essentially, the law allows business owners to refuse service to customers based on religious beliefs.

Those in favor of the bill will argue that it genuinely helps protect religious freedom. No business owner should have to be a part of something that he or she is uncomfortable with. Opponents of the law argue that it merely gives business owners stronger legal grounds to discriminate, specifically targeting the LGBT community.

According to Tara Clarke, an author for Money Morning Magazine, CEOs of Apple, Nike, Wal-Mart and Microsoft are among major corporations to express disgust at the law. Jon Stewart, Seth MacFarlane, Rihanna and Charles Barkley are also among the list of celebrities that have publicly scrutinized the Indiana government. Known supporters of the law include Glenn Beck, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. So the question is, is this law a defense for religion or is it for discrimination?

Political journalist Jonathan Turley appeared on CNN the week the law was approved to discuss it. Joining him on the panel was Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign. Turley argued to Warbelow that if a Christian business owner should have to serve to a gay customer, a Jewish business owner should have to serve a KKK member. Turley, in the year 2015, is comparing being gay to being a member of a well-known hate group.

The slippery slope argument is always devoid of logic or reason. Those aren’t parallel situations. We, as an American society, have progressed past the point where the simple act of existing as a homosexual should not offend anyone. The KKK will always be objectionable. Turley is trying to create a gray area where one really doesn’t exist. A Christian refusing service to a gay person is more comparable to say, a gay person refusing service to a Christian, which would be wrong.

It should be noted that Pence ran for Congress in 2000. His platform included, according to the Pence Agenda for the 107th Congress, “opposing any effort to put gay marriages on an equal level as heterosexual marriages,” and “opposing any effort to recognize homosexuals as a minority entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws.” It would seem Pence has an anti-gay agenda. In an increasingly progressive America, he can’t say it that bluntly. Solace can be taken in the fact, that amid outdated Conservative views, large corporations and influential names are quick to stand against bigotry. That’s what the Indiana Religious Restoration Act is. It’s bigotry and it’s hate.

The bill has since been amended on April 2, according to The Washington Post. The amendment clarifies that business owners are not allowed to deny service to anyone based on religion.