The Indiana Senate Bill 101:
Freedom of Religion or Freedom of Discrimination?
Last Thursday, March 26, Indiana governor Mike Pence signed into law Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which states that businesses can deny service to any individual based on religious beliefs. The said purpose of the bill was to preserve religious freedom, but many think that it is really a response to an Indiana law passed last summer legalizing gay marriage. There are quite a few people that fear that this new law will cause people to discriminate based on personal prejudice, not just religious belief. Many people believe that this law is a direct hit to the gay community, and that it will allow, and possibly even encourage, people to be discriminatory of others. On Saturday, thousands of people against the new law gathered to protest the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Pence, who received support from figures such as Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, has responded, saying that he firmly believes that Indiana lawmakers had no intent "to create a license for discrimination" (Davies). Pence also called for a clarification of the law. The backlash is huge. Celebrities are speaking out against this, bands and organizations have cancelled events in Indiana, and the NCAA, based in Indianapolis, has expressed opposition to the law. Nineteen other states have similar bills waiting to be passed. The Arkansas legislature recently passed a similar bill, and the governor says that he will also sign it. This new bill could encourage people to discriminate based on personal prejudice, and it could create a movement in gay rights.
Read the article above for a perspective from an Indiana resident.
The article above provides information about the response to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Read the article above for more detail about the news story from an Indiana newspaper, along with pictures, quotes, and tweets from Pence.
More information below: