As Barb Morrill
pointed out on the front page late last night, Indiana's biggest newspaper
is speaking out against Indiana's ill-advised pro-discrimination law:
The consequences will only get worse if our state leaders delay in fixing the deep mess created.
The New York Times
Half steps will not be enough. Half steps will not undo the damage.
Only bold action — action that sends an unmistakable message to the world that our state will not tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens — will be enough to reverse the damage.
Gov. Mike Pence and the General Assembly need to enact a state law to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, education and public accommodations on the basis of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
adds its take:
Religious-freedom laws, which were originally intended to protect religious minorities from burdensome laws or regulations, have become increasingly invoked by conservative Christian groups as gay rights in general — and marriage equality in particular — found greater acceptance nationally. Besides Indiana, 19 states have adopted such laws, but the laws in the other states apply to disputes between individuals and the government; Indiana’s law also applies to disputes between private citizens [...] If Mr. Pence is genuinely concerned about why people may be misunderstanding the law, he could start by looking in the mirror. Under persistent questioning on ABC News’s “This Week” on Sunday morning, Mr. Pence insisted that the law “is not about discrimination,” but about “empowering people.”
That claim is impossible to square with his refusal to consider a statewide law protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination (about a dozen Indiana cities, including most of the largest ones, already have such laws)..
Much more below the fold.
Jay Bookman at The Atlantic Journal Constitution says RFRA backers are being dishonest:
Backers of a state RFRA are taking benign legislation that was passed more than two decades ago and “repurposing” it to a very different goal, a goal that sponsors of the 1993 legislation had never envisioned. That goal is to use religious liberty to create a legal “safe harbor” for those who want to continue to discriminate against gay Americans.
There’s really no great mystery to it. When conservative state legislators who attack anything out of Washington as the devil’s own handiwork are suddenly insistent that Georgia has to mimic a two-decade-old federal law, you know something screwy is happening. When legislators in Indiana, Arizona, Arkansas, Utah, West Virginia and other conservative states all simultaneously conclude that their states also have to pass such a law immediately, you know something’s up. Something has changed, and that “something” is of course the looming Supreme Court decision that will make gay marriage legal throughout the land.
at The Daily Beast says progressives should think about using such laws to their advantage:
Maybe it’s time to start the Church of Gay. Or actually pass state and federal laws specifying that gay businesses have the legal right to discriminate against religious fundamentalists. Time to fight special rights with special rights. [...]
In response, yes, there should be court challenges and tourism boycotts and more. But I would also like to propose the “Gay Freedom Restoration Act.” And should such a law fail to pass in Indiana or other states, then I will be starting the Church of Gay. Allow me to explain.
At The Washington Post, Catherine Rampell
examines the economics of inclusion:
Whatever the law actually allows, the outrage it unleashed, over a perceived blank check for bigotry, was overwhelming. And not just from liberal celebrities such as Miley Cyrus or Democratic politicians such as Hillary Clinton. Almost immediately, the Republican chief executive of Angie’s List announced the company was canceling its planned $40 million expansion in Indianapolis. The chief executive of Salesforce said he had canceled all his company’s events in Indiana and advocated a “slow rolling of economic sanctions” against the state. The organizers of Gen Con, the largest conference held each year in Indianapolis , threatened to move it elsewhere. The Indianapolis-based NCAA has said it’s “concerned” about how the law might affect student-athletes, employees and spectators attending Final Four games there this weekend, while some athletes have called for the conference and other sports leagues to avoid hosting events in the state in the future. [...] This is an astonishing, and inspiring, turn of events. If in Becker’s day firms feared that customers would punish them for inclusiveness, today firms fear customers will instead punish them for exclusiveness. If in the past, to stay competitive and attract the most desirable talent, you needed to be discriminatory, today the opposite may be becoming true. Hooray for markets being on the right side of history.
And, on a final note, Jonathan Capehart
looks at the fact there's no freedom from religion in Indiana:
Let’s be real here for a moment. We gays know who likes us and who doesn’t, especially when it comes to where we decide to spend our money. Same-sex couples yearning to throw their own fairy-tale wedding pretty much know exactly who would arrange their flowers, cater their reception, bake their cake and snap their keepsake photos. But those not living in a gay metropolis, where the options are limited to none, ought to have legal recourse for the indignity suffered simply because of who they love. And let’s not forget that there are indeed religious gays and lesbians who can’t abide their faith being twisted to condone discrimination against them. [...]
The great silver lining in all this is that the loudest voices against what Pence has done are from private businesses. Discrimination isn’t just wrong. It’s bad for business. You’d think a governor would know that.