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Indiana's 'religious freedom' law is a slap to LGBT civil rights

Lisa Fogarty

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Lisa Fogarty

Lisa Fogarty has written numerous articles for USA Today, The Stir, Opposing Views and other publications. She has covered everything from red carpet events to the discovery of toxic PCBs on school windows. She lives on Long Island, N.Y....

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence just took his state back 100 years

A new Indiana law set to go into effect on July 1 has been written in the name of "religious freedom" but does little more than slash the rights of gays and lesbians. What year is it again?

Senate Bill 101, or the "Religious Freedom Restoration" law, is written in such a way that civil rights supporters fear it lets businesses that choose to not serve LGBT customers off the hook and be protected by its somewhat ambiguous language, which includes lines about how the government can't "substantially burden a person's exercise of religion."

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who signed the bill into law, insists this isn't about "discrimination" and that anyone who has made the mistake of thinking this way is failing to see what it's really about. He vows he will help clarify the language in the bill so that it does not promote discrimination. Unless he's planning to set fire to the current bill and start from scratch, I highly doubt his little edit marks are going to make hundreds of thousands of people feel any better about this senseless and harmful law.

Pence is an intelligent man, so I find it difficult to believe he isn't aware of how odd a coincidence it is that Senate Bill 101 has become such a red-hot law — one legislators feel absolutely must pass ASAP — at the same time more members of the LGBT are reporting about incidences in which businesses have turned them away.

The most popular examples of discrimination include gay or lesbian couples who can't book a florist or caterer for their wedding because of their sexual orientation. And there have been countless other times when gay couples were denied the right to eat at certain restaurants or feel welcome at other establishments.

To make matters worse, Pence doesn't seem to be telling the whole truth here. And if he thinks he is, he might want to touch base with friends like Eric Miller, the head of Advance America, who lauded the law on his website and said it would now protect "Christian bakers, florists and photographers" who refuse to serve gays and lesbians. Um, oops?

When asked by ABC's George Stephanopoulos about Miller's claims, Pence took the easy way out of the conversation and refused to answer. Convenient, huh? You'll have to forgive me if that doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the governor and his agenda.

Anyone attempting to pass a disgusting law like this in the name of "religion" should feel nothing but shame. Humans, whatever their sexual preference or identity, have the right to be protected — first and foremost — by government. Any law that limits their civil rights should be vetoed immediately — something in which many good-hearted and faithful Christians would, I hope, agree.

This is a step back in time for Indiana and affects our entire nation by putting us in line with many of the countries and corrupt governments whose people we claim we need to fight for — what about taking care of the basic rights of our citizens as well? As for Pence, he isn't in office because of a divine right to be there. He has a duty to the people he serves to answer all questions if his intention is to truly make them feel this act will not affect the LGBT community.

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