Indiana's freedom to discriminate law

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Magical Realist, Mar 29, 2015.

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  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    I'm not sure I understand how denying gay people service from your business constitutes some sort of "right."If discriminating against minorities is "practicing your religion" then maybe you need to rethink your religion. LGBT people have historically faced this kind of bigotry for centuries now. Why are we going backwards now and legalizing it? I think Indiana will "see the light" once businesses and sports franchises start boycotting their state, don't you? OTOH, the governor seems pretty adamant he won't back down. Not a good move for a governor seeking reelection.
    "Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) on Sunday defended the religious-freedom bill that he signed last week, saying the growing outrage over the legislation stems from “a tremendous amount of misinformation and misunderstanding.”

    Critics of the new law say it gives businesses a license to discriminate against gays by denying them service. They have called for a boycott of the NCAA’s Final Four basketball tournament in Indianapolis as a response to the measure.

    Asked on ABC’s “This Week” about whether businesses could refuse service to gay people under the new law, Pence repeatedly said the question was beside the point.

    “This isn’t about disputes between individuals,” he said. “It’s about government overreach, and I’m proud that Indiana stepped forward, and I’m working hard to clarify this.”

    The governor also said the law protects “individuals when they believe that actions of government impinge on their constitutional First Amendment freedom of religion.”

    Pence added that the measure would apply only to disputes between individuals when government action is involved. He said similar laws for the federal government and more than a dozen states has never been used to undermine anti-discrimination laws.

    The governor said he expects additional legislation this week to clarify the intent of the law.

    One idea under consideration is a proposal to add sexual orientation as a protected class under the state’s civil rights laws.

    “I will not push for that,” Pence said. “That’s not on my agenda, and that’s not been an objective of the people of the state of Indiana.”

    Host George Stephanopoulos ended the interview by asking for a yes or no answer on whether it should be legal to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

    “You’re following the mantra of the last week online, and you’re trying to make this issue about something else,” Pence said. “What I am for is protecting … the religious liberty of Hoosiers.”

    White House press secretary Josh Earnest criticized the governor during a follow-up interview on the show."====
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    lThe Religious Freedom Restoration Act isn't anything new or radical.

    There is already a federal RFRA on the books, authored by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993 after being passed unanimously in the House and 97-3 in the Senate.

    "The law reestablished a balancing test for courts to apply in religious liberty cases. The RFRA allows a persons free exercise of religion to be "substantially burdened" by law only if the law furthers "compelling governmental interest" in the "least restrictive means of furthering that interest".

    The RFRA does not guarantee that a person making a religious claim will always win. It just requires that the government show that it has a compelling interest in infringing on somebody's religious rights and that the government is trying to achieve its interests in the least intrusive way possible.

    Ok, if there's a federal RFRA on the books, then why did Indiana pass its own RFRA? That's because in 1997, the Supreme Court ruled in City of Boerne vs Flores that the federal RFRA is generally inapplicable against states and localities.

    Since then, 19 states have passed state RFRA acts. Indiana is the 20th. Others include neighboring Illinois, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

    Do these laws license discrimination against gays? Stanford law professor Michael McConnell says no, "In the decades that states have had RFRA statutes, no business has been given the right to discrimnate against gay customers or anyone else."

    McConnell also thinks that should state RFRA acts collide with public accomodation law, he thinks that public accomodation law would prevail.

    Here's the text of the federal RFRA law:

    Here's the text of Indiana's.

    See in particular Section 8, which essentially repeats the federal wording.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    So what religious rights are we talking about? What rights are getting infringed on that require the passage of such a law? From the sound of it, religious groups are daily getting oppressed somehow. How so? From what I see, everybody gets to worship as they please. They even have the right to speak about it. What they do NOT have the right to do is impose their religious beliefs and rituals on others. No prayers in school or football games. No city-sponsored Ten Commandments. No requiring people to say "In God We Trust" at city councils or in courtroom oaths. The distinction is quite clear. Why is this law necessary? I think we can get the answer by looking at the lobbyists who pushed for this law:

    "Supporters of these laws bring up the example of a florist who refuses to sell flowers for a gay wedding or a baker who won't make that couple's wedding cake -- and it's clear this law is aimed at fending off lawsuits that florist and that baker might face.

    But what about a restaurant that refuses to serve a gay couple simply wanting to sit down for a meal?

    "It would foil any lawsuit against a supplier who acted on religious grounds, but the law can get squirrely," CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin said, adding that it's likely that a refusal to serve a gay person wouldn't stand under the law, but a refusal to provide a service for a gay wedding would.

    Is Indiana the first state to implement this kind of a law?

    Nope. It's actually the 20th state to adopt a "religious freedom restoration" law, most of which are modeled after the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1993.

    But that law passed with the backing of a broad-based coalition and wasn't set against the backdrop of gay rights or the wave of marriage equality laws that have swept the country in recent years.

    The law in Indiana, though, as well as the slew of other states it follows, came after an outcry from social conservative circles over incidents where business owners found themselves in hot water after refusing services to gay couples planning to get married.

    In addition to those 20 states, legislators in nine other states have introduced similar types of "religious freedom" laws -- bills that either failed to go through in 2014 or are still up for consideration this year.

    But Adam Talbot, a spokesman with the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, stressed that those 20 laws are "dramatically different in their scope and effect."

    "Calling them similar in this way risks being misleading. Indiana is the broadest and most dangerous law of its kind in the country," Talbot said.

    Arkansas' legislature passed an Indiana-style law on Friday, which now heads to the state's governor for approval.

    Religious liberty -- and using it to push back against same-sex marriage and other gay rights -- has become the rallying cry for the social conservative movement in the last year as these groups have watched one anti-gay marriage law after the next tumble in the courts.

    And standing behind with Pence as he signed the bill were several socially conservative lobbyists, the ones who pushed for the law and are fiercely opposed to same-sex marriage.

    One of those lobbyists, Eric Miller, explicitly wrote on his website that the law would protect businesses from participating in "homosexual marriage."

    "The only reason these laws have passed is because of same sex marriage. Everybody knows that," Toobin said. The political calculation that states are going to have to make is, is the reward from the religious groups greater than the cost in lost business."

    Have these "religious freedom restoration" laws already been used as legal defenses?

    Yup. The Human Rights Campaign pointed CNN to several cases in which individuals have used these laws in court -- and not just in cases involving LGBT people and weddings.

    A police officer in Oklahoma claimed a religious objection when he refused to police a mosque. A police officer in Salt Lake City cited his "religious liberty" when he refused to police a gay pride parade.

    A photographer in New Mexico used religious freedom as a defense for not serving a lesbian couple in 2013."---
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
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  7. zgmc Registered Senior Member

    I work with a gut who is a YEC. According to him, the only people you are allowed to oppress anymore are christians. He really feels that there is some kind of gay and lesbian agenda that is being forced upon him and his brethren. He actually said this, just last week. I don't think that anything could be done to change the mind of people with those beliefs. Once they are at that point, its safe to say that the brainwashing has taken hold. This guy made his son quit the boyscouts because they decided to allow openly gay people to become troop leaders.

    I don't doubt for a second that that there are plenty of business owners in Indiana with this same outlook, and they will take this new law as an opportunity to push their religious beliefs on as many people as the possibly can.
  8. Bells Staff Member

    Then their businesses will lose customers.

    As it stands, Indiana is looking to lose a lot of dosh as a result of this stupidity. Companies, big and small, are stating they will not do business with companies in the State, and gaming conventions, etc, are pulling the plug on their Indiana events. These things usually bring big money and tourism to the State.

    It is obscene that this level of tripe exists in this day and age.

    Just wait for the whining when someone refuses to serve a right wing Christian nutbag and wait for their screams of discrimination.
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


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    Why would you presume they are behaving logically? This is a temper tantrum. Earlier this month, I noted↱:

    Whether they were going under before, or simply fell out of love with their business dream, or are genuinely pursuing their consciences according to some perverse assertion of self-interest, the conventional wisdom on these outcomes seems to be that they did it to themselves. On some level, people are thinking, "Well, you could have just made the fucking cake and found some other way to chase everyone away from your business beating your chest about the conscience of your bigotry."

    This way, though, whatever the reasons one's business is going under, blaming the government and calling yourself a victim is one way to appeal to the fifteen minutes; maybe social media will bring them a pile of cash from sympathizers. Then again, it's not like we only left them a Negro―that is to say, nobody's dead―so it's not quite spectacular enough to get people sending that reward money.

    It seems like almost a side note, but watch how showbiz and the fifteen minutes become so many Americans' backup plans. Maybe one of these bakers will run for state legislature. Or, hell, Congress. House seats carry a low bar for admission among Republican voters.

    In the question of, "What are they thinking?" the answer is, quite simply, "They're not."

    This is what the end looks like.

    Think of it this way: Civics, right? Remember how our society always tries to get kids interested in how their society works? A long tradition of taking students to the state house has started going awry. Some of it is just your standard tinfoil paranoia, like the Idaho giant salamander bill (state amphibian), which died in committee because Gem State conservatives were worried about "federal overreach". But some of it is downright vicious, like the New Hampshire bill to make the Red Tail Hawk the state raptor, that went down on the House floor because "the shame about making this a state bird is it would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood", as one Republican explained ... in front of the fourth grade students who crafted the bill. Or the Kentucky bill crafted by high school students intended to give a student committee some voice in the hiring of district superintendents. Apparently, this bill was looking at potentially unanimous passage until Republicans decided to tack on a rider targeting transgender students.

    These are undignified tantrums, and look at how the social conservatives are doing it. They're unhinged. They're losing.

    Of course they're going to throw a temper tantrum. Of course they're going to pitch themselves wailing onto the floor and bang their fists and kick at the air, and the only thing wrong with calling it infantile is that they're not children.

    The reality is that there aren't enough decent people left in Indiana to do anything else.

    And when you look at the rash of legislation and executive action hitting out against LGBT, whether it is Brownback in Kansas stripping civil rights protections because Kansans are stupid fucking hatemongers; or Pence in Indiana, signing stupid legislation because the Hoosier State is irredeemably infested with genuinely awful human beings; or Republicans in Kentucky who won't ever pass on an opportunity to be cruel, bigoted assholes because, well, that's the best Kentucky can do; or New Hampshire conservatives who think a civics lesson is a great opportunity to go after women, and in front of schoolchildren, because ... what, really? that's what the Granite State wants?

    Okay, we hear them, with their "family values" of hatred and dehumanization. They vote, we see. And it would be one thing to remind them to double-check whether or not they really want to be remembered in history as worthless bigots, but in truth we already know the answer: Yes, they do. It is their honor to be hatemongers. Bigotry is their sacred duty. Hurting other people is the heart of their character.

    And they're losing.

    So of course they're pitching a tantrum of all tantrums.

    And if they're really so worried about who fucks who that they're willing to tear the place apart, they would serve humanity better to go fuck themselves.


    B.D. "Crossposted (Facebook Fairy Cake Edition". This Is. 4 March 2015. 30 March 2015.

    See Also:

    Benen, Steve. "NH Republicans deliver a rough message to 4th graders". msnbc. 19 March 2015. 30 March 2015.
  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Acceptance isn't an agenda. Letting go of stereotypes and condemnation isn't an agenda. The open and generous treatment 0f ALL people respectfully and tolerably isn't an agenda. It's just human nature. It's the setting aside of the old moralistic agenda of habitually smearing people you don't even know just because they are gay or transgender. As if 5% of the population really has such hypnotic control over our culture that they have orchestrated this ruse of "just being normal human beings like everyone else". As if we all secretly meet in basements every month and make sinister plans to indoctrinate little Tommy and Susie with gay-friendly educational propaganda at school. The only agenda here is to hate complete strangers just for their ability to love. An agenda doctrinally codified and justified under the excuse of one's sacred religious liberty.
  11. CEngelbrecht Registered Senior Member

    This is the next nigger problem, isn't it? "I don't have to serve your kind!"
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Quote: Tim Cook on Freedom and Discrimination

    "This isn't a political issue. It isn't a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it's time for all of us to be courageous."

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    Cook, Tim. "Pro-discrimination 'religious freedom' laws are dangerous". The Washington Post. 29 March 2015. 30 March 2015.
  13. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    I still can't understand how any restaurant can differentiate a gay person from a straight one.
  14. CEngelbrecht Registered Senior Member

    'Pends on how much their arms fly about, or don't. And usually two guys or gals coming in together to dine at an otherwise romantic spot would be a giveaway. Also, if they keep chanting "We're here, we're queer ...," and starts shagging mid meal in front of everyone. Or is that a stereotype?

    Anyway, this is the new racism. Apparently, people perpetually need somebody to look down on in this grossly over populated world.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  15. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member


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  16. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member


    Normally people don't dress like this except for celebratory occasions. Just anyone walking into anywhere with "normal" clothing wouldn't let on they are gay or not. I never see anyone dressed like your picture in any place I've ever been.
  17. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Seems that way. I lead the successful third summer effort to integrate the Restaurants of Baltimore with an economic, rather than the moral campaign used the two prior summers by religious leaders. (On some Sundays we could cost the restaurants $25,000 in lost business. After doing this for a couple of months, the Restaurant Association, RA, did a 180 turn and joined the Civic Interest Group in asking the MD legislator to make racial discrimination illegal and they promptly did - so I could go back to my Ph. D. research experiment.)

    The RA's position was: "The owner has the right to serve or not serve anyone he choses." I replied in our meetings: "Not if he expects police and fire departments protection as those agencies are supported by the entire tax paying public - some of who you discriminate against. You must server the properly dressed, well behaved members of the pubic, paying for this protection of owner's business." That argument was not more effective than the moral one, but hitting them hard in their pocket book sure was.

    The gays should learn from our experience. Hit them where it hurts. Organize and make both sit-ins and picket lines out front. In the prior two summers, the RA had organized a "telephone alert" system that got restaurant door locked, with a waitress standing there to open for others, when first sit in hit one. Defeating it required precise strike timing.* Here is how it was done:

    Cars with 4 blacks and two whites (Usually supplied by white girls from Gaucher College, which is just north of Baltimore) parked at least a block away from their assigned target. Then 5 or so minutes before Strike Time, ST, the two whites went separately in as if unrelated, sat at different table and ordered something expensive, that took time to fix, like well-done steaks. At ST, all over Baltimore, perhaps 25 to 30 restaurants, the BBs, Black Bodies, mostly high school kids, surged thru the restaurant door with in a 30 second period. At least two separately would join the WBs, their "friends," at their tables (two at each table would if there were no other unoccupied tables for them), but we preferred to occupy at least four tables. BBs were with the two WBs so the WBs could say: "I'm not going to pay if my friend can't eat with me. Please bring an extra plate; this steak is too big for just me. " (Sometimes the steak came before the cops did.).

    Then it got quite loud with arguments as all refused to leave. After 20 to 50 minutes (we stressed the police response capacity) we left and started (or joined if already formed) the picket line outside in front of the door.

    Before the police would evict us, a waitress had to read us the eviction notice / law. Normally it was used to "post farm land" - had phrases about paying for crop damage, cut fences etc. We knew it well and sometimes helped the poorly educated waitress with words she could not read !

    All was very routine and we were very glad when the police came to keep owners (or patrons) from getting violent with us. The Baltimore-Afro American newspaper, had asked us to orderly leave when the waitress had read the eviction notice law - typically more than a 10 minute effort for most waitress. They were already paying the legal cost to defend two Blacks who had refused the police order to leave, and did not want more cost or need more court cases.

    I'm as "straight" as they come, but still often march a block or two in Sao Paulo's annual "gay pride day" parade. (World's 2nd largest they claim.) The gays that invade the restaurants at ST, would need to have arm band or shirts that say: "I'm gay and proud of it" with the rainbow colors, as unlike our BBs, they can't be identified just by looking. If I were there, I would want to falsely wear that arm band. I'm sure for every true gay in the strike force, there would be many like me - helping to show the restaurants the financial error of their policy.

    * Ike had it easy at Normandy - few of my BBs even had a wrist watch! A driver would leave hers with one. At assemble point watches were synchronized. We had several and painted /stored picket signs there. There were many more points for the BBs to assemble. They had little else interesting to do so did not mind waiting hours for a car to come by and asks the best dressed four to get in. The BBs ran on CPT, not EST and that helped too. We had more BBs than we could transport. After being evicted, the driver would go back a pack at least 5 more BBs into her car to strength the picket line.

    PS the proudest moment in my life, was not when the President of JHU handed me my Ph. D. with my father watching, but more than a decade later. I was sitting in a side both in a modest Baltimore restaurant watching at least 16 blacks, two in army uniform and one an obvious new bride with color matching dresses on her bride maids. They were in center of the restaurant at 6 or 7 tables that had been pushed together making a long one. On the other side wall were booths too with mainly older white people in them. They only occasionally glanced at the blacks when the laughter of the wedding party grew suddenly extra loud, but they were smiling as they did so. I thought to myself - I made this possible and was really proud.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2015
  18. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Well that is more than a little disingenuous. There is something new here. For the first time, religious freedom laws are being used with the specific intent to discriminate. That's why businesses and others are so distressed with this law. This recent spate of religious freedom laws began when the courts ruled a baker couldn't discriminate against gay customers. Since that time Republicans have been passing religious freedom laws in virtually every state with a Republican controlled state government.

    Previous religious freedom laws (i.e. before 2014) were not designed or intended to sanction discrimination as this recent batch of religious freedom laws clearly are. Previous religious freedom laws allowed native Americans the right to practice their religion in prisons on an equal footing with other religions. Unlike previous religious freedom laws, these recent Republican passed freedom of religion laws were specifically designed to foment discrimination based on religion. That is why businesses had no problem with previously passed religious freedom laws but have great objection to these recent Republican sponsored and passed religious freedom laws. So to compare previous religious freedom legislation with what has happened in Kansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, etc. is clearly disingenuous.

    Below is the court ruling which spawned the recent spate of Republican sponsored and Republican passed religious freedom laws:
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015
  19. danshawen Valued Senior Member

    The US Constitution grants no authority to countermand its legal authority to states, counties or municipalities. Religious freedom is limited to practices which do not interfere with the free exercise of other guaranteed rights, whether it explicitly says so or not.

    I had no idea Indiana had so many idiots.

    In the real world there are no absolutes, constitutionally protected ones or otherwise. Nor is even the best constitution a substitute for common sense.
  20. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Governor Pence of Indiana said this was just a misunderstanding and a “smear campaign” by the press. Pence says this is just a “perception problem” and not a substance problem. But nonetheless he is calling on the Indiana State legislature to fix the law. If it were just a perception and a smear problem as Pence claims, he wouldn’t need to “fix” the law. Unfortunately, scapegoating is nothing new for Republicans like Pence.

    Having worked for most of my life in corporate America, I can tell you corporate executives and lawyers are smart enough and informed enough to be able to correctly assess and evaluate law, and they don’t share Pence’s claim that this law has been misperceived or that it and he are the victims of a smear campaign. That’s why businesses around the country are so concerned with Pence’s law. Just as they were when Republicans in Kansas voted on the same law.

    Pence also tied his law with Clinton and Democrats as Yazata has done. Pence is being more than a little duplicitous in making that claim. The religious freedom laws passed and signed into law by Democrats didn’t contain a section 9 which is a license to discriminate – one of them minor details again.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015
  21. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Even where the law allows business owners to arbitrarily discriminate, it can be stopped as I described in post 14. It is well known that if not prepared to defend the public's rights / freedom of choice, etc. you will lose them.

    The hard part is getting those not directly abused, to act as if they were. I twice went to Morgan State college, then a blacks only school, trying to get some older than our typical BBs to participate, but got none. They had "made it" out of the black ghetto and did not want join the cause.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2015
  22. CEngelbrecht Registered Senior Member

    Stupidity is pretty global. Human nature is human nature. Maybe if we ate more seafood, but ...
  23. Photizo Ambassador/Envoy Valued Senior Member

    "...These four cases, and many others, concerned similar facts — private parties had brought suits against corporations. (Yes, Catholic University and Catholic churches are corporations.) In each case, the corporate defendants were allowed to raise RFRA as a defense to assert that the enforcement of a federal law — Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination, bankruptcy law, and even copyright law — would burden their free exercise of religion. In some cases, the defenses were successful, and in others they were not. But this is the rule of law in the states under the jurisdiction of these four circuits — nearly half the states in the union. Until recently, this was not particularly controversial..."
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