“Religious Freedom” legislation headed for Indiana

Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, has authored a “Religious Freedom” bill which he claims will protect the rights of the strongly religious. The bill resembles the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, that was used to justify the June Hobby Lobby ruling that stripped some women of their contraception coverage.

Although Schneider has vaguely stated that the bill does not intend to discriminate against anyone, and puzzlingly insists  “This is a bill to protect freedom and protect religious liberty,” historically, such legislation has seemed to function in a purely discriminatory fashion against women, LGBTQ and others.

Micah Clark, director of the American Family Association of Indiana, who has lobbied for the bill, has explicitly stated an intention to use this bill to prevent GLBTQ adoptions and to enable wedding related businesses to refuse service to GLBTQ people.

State Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, said the Indiana bill is a distraction from pressing state issues.

“We are not being prevented from exercising our faith, nor are we being forced to do something we don’t want to do,” he said. “It’s kind of sad, really.”

Currently, the bill seems likely to pass in the overwhelmingly conservative state legislature.

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