On ABC's Sunday program "This Week," Indiana Gov. Mike Pence gave
a career-ending performance
in which he repeatedly refused to answer
whether Indiana's new "religious freedom" law, SB 101, allows discrimination against gays and lesbians (#NotReadyForPrimeTime). Pence also likened SB 101 to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) signed into law in the '90s and those adopted by about 19 states since. Then he added
And after last year's Hobby Lobby case, Indiana properly brought the same version that then state senator Barack Obama voted for in Illinois before our legislature. And I was proud to sign it into law last week.
Lies. All of it. Indiana's new law is substantially different than both the 90s-era RFRAs and there is no parallel to be drawn between Indiana now and the Illinois bill Barack Obama voted for 17 years ago
First, these new RFRAs aren't even close to the same as those that have been passed by other states over the last couple decades. The new ones are RFRAs on steroids. The old RFRAs were meant to keep the government from infringing on the religious beliefs of individuals. The new ones vary, but they almost all apply to private disputes. That is new and will allow people to use their religious beliefs as a defense if they are sued for discrimination by another individual.
Here's more from a real lawyer, Jenny Pizer at Lambda Legal:
SB 101 is substantially broader than the federal law. It extends religious rights to all businesses, no matter how large and completely secular they are. In addition, the federal law 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 in a business transaction based on someone else’s religious beliefs.
Head below the fold to find out how Pence lied by comparing Indiana to Illinois.
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