Sunday, March 29, 2015

Indiana Governor Pence's Claims - Not True

In an appearance on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos this morning Indiana Gov. Mike Pence defended the "Religious Freedom" law which is designed to allow businesses, organizations and individuals to discriminate against anyone in Indiana if the person discriminating declares it happens on religious grounds.

Lambda Legal explains the truth about the law. Though Gov. Pence says the law is like the one in Illinois, he fails to point out that Illinois has robust nondiscrimination clauses in its state Human Rights Act that specifically protect LGBT people. Indiana does not. Different from what Pence claims, this law goes past established law in Indiana, that now someone can sue even without their religious beliefs having actually been burdened simply by claiming that is "likely" to happen.

Even though Pence claims otherwise, SB 101 is substantially broader than the federal law. The federal RFRA can only be invoked against government action. SB 101 goes much further, inviting discrimination by allowing religious beliefs to be raised as a defense in lawsuits and administrative proceedings brought by workers, tenants and customers who have suffered discrimination as "any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief."