Breaking News: Discrimination Illegal in Indiana

Breaking News: Discrimination Illegal in Indiana April 2, 2015

For the first time in its history, there is a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in Indiana.

Here is the language that has been added to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act:

Sec. 0.7. This chapter does not: (1) authorize a provider to refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing to any member or members of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service; (2) establish a defense to a civil action or criminal prosecution for refusal by a provider to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing to any member or members of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service; or (3) negate any rights available under the Constitution of the State of Indiana.

Of course, one could try to argue that the statement merely says that one cannot justify refusal of service based on the RFRA – but one can discriminate on other grounds. But I am pretty sure the courts would conclude that this statement implicitly includes sexual orientation and gender identity alongside other protected categories, and thus extends to them the right to live free of discrimination.

I consider this a major step forward by Indiana, even if it was preceded by a step backwards.

I only hope this means that we get to keep Gen Con…

GenConBestFourDays

"My favorite Genesis song is "I can't dance:" https://www.youtube.com/wat..."

Genesis and Theology
"And core samples show that throughout history, CO2 levels rose AFTER warming spans. We are ..."

Not Liberal, Just Literate
"Ask your geologist husband about the movement of continental plates. Some parts of the American ..."

Not Liberal, Just Literate
"https://www.patheos.com/blo...Philip Jenkins wrote an interesting piece about the second ending to the Gospel according to ..."

Textual Criticism and What Jesus Learned ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • R Vogel

    Good news!

  • Jonathan Bernier

    Wow. It’s almost as if democracy works.

  • John MacDonald

    Great news. Religion definitely needs to be kept on a tight leash. Religion is like a naughty two year old who runs amok the second your head is turned.

  • John Pieret

    Sorry, James. No court is going to interpret that as creating a new protected class statewide. The good news is that the RFRA cannot now be used to overturn or restrict the ordinances protecting LGBT people passed by 3 counties and 10 cities in Indiana, which was what the bigots wanted the law to do.

    • Andrew Dowling

      So in your interpretation does the revised law basically just keep the status quo intact?

      • John Pieret

        Yes. When it comes to LGBT rights in Indiana. There may be other consequences but I’m not familiar enough with Indiana law to foresee any.

  • Michael Wilson

    James I’m confused on the fix. As written it seems to eliminate homosexuals and the like from the prospect of discrimination by RIFRA, yet not extend general protection to gays. Like Pieret says, it would only protect gays where protections have been extended. Is that right? And do you think that is why angies list is upset, because it allows RIFRA to apply to abortion

    Alternatively, does the fix give gays protection but not where conflict of faith occures?

    • I don’t think Angie’s List makes it about abortion. Here’s the quote from the CEO Bill Oesterle:

      “Oesterle said that even with the proposed change, “Employers in most of the state of Indiana can fire a person simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning.

      “That’s just not right and that’s the real issue here. Our employees deserve to live, work and travel with open accommodations in any part of the state.”

  • Mark Nichols

    I’m still waiting for someone to explain what problem these laws are intended to fix.

    • John Pieret

      Theoretically, this RFRA will do for state laws what the Federal RFRA did in the Hobby Lobby case, where the Supreme Court held that, since there was a less burdensome way to get Hobby Lobby employees contraception coverage, the government couldn’t “force” Hobby Lobby to participate in something that violated the owners religious beliefs. The Federal RFRA is limited to actions of the Federal government so the state RFRA are supposedly needed to protect religious rights from state government action. That’s the official story, at least. The reaction of the religious right to the “clarification” shows that what they wanted the law to do was prevent anti-discrimination laws from forcing “Christian businesses” to serve LGBT people, particularly when it comes to same-sex marriages.

  • Josh Magda

    Hadn’t thought about the Gen Con fallout. Yes, that would suck. Though there could have been some interesting Orc-based opposition, etc., coming from the creative minds in gaming. That would have been fun to watch.

    Glad to see that nonviolent political pressure occasionally still accomplishes something quickly.

  • Josh Magda