By Tristan Lampe
The Indiana Law – Religious Freedom Taken Too Far?
On March 26th 2015, a bill was passed in Indiana called the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It passed by a 40-10 vote in the Indiana Legislature and is supposed to protect the free exercise of religion. The law is controversial because it somewhat allows people to discriminate others in defense of religious belief. 18 other states have Religious Freedom Restoration Acts in place, however the one passed in Indiana has less limits than all the others, including allowing the law to be used as a defense in a civil rights case. It also does not limit parties to such a suit, and means that the government does not have to be a party to a suit to use religious expression as a defense. Individuals and businesses could get away with discriminating against gays and other groups of people whom they may not like very much, and could use religious expression as an excuse to get away with it, if contested in court.
Many articles over the past few weeks have been popping up from various news sources. These articles talk about what the new law does, who it affects, and why it matters. The articles have multiple opinions but none seem to be too bias towards one side or another. A lot of them, if not all, talk about how and why the law is controversial, and some even compare the law to others states.
In this article from U.S. News, they themselves analyze what has been going down in Indiana the past few weeks and have come up with some of their own conclusions. They say that LGBT discrimination isn’t going anywhere and the Indiana law somewhat helps bring light to that. They also say that religious people weren’t really even calling for more religious protection from the law anyway, and the law was created more for the politicians and lawmakers. It was found out that businesses do not support any laws that favor potential discrimination because it hurts their profits. It applies more to bigger corporations rather than mom and pop shops, however it does lead to the reality that equality generally leads to more profit and sales. Anti-gay protesters have been demanding more rights for the LGBT community, however it seems like they are almost overstepping their boundaries and basically asking for special rights.
In this article from CNN, the writer talks about most of the same stuff as the previous article and also includes a very brief history of past religious freedom laws. They also talk about how the Indiana law varies from the other Religious Freedom Restoration Acts in different states.
The article by npr.org found here goes partially in depth a history of religious freedom laws and how Indiana’s law differs from what federal law already is. There are a lot of stats and facts about the general public’s opinion on gay rights and how times are changing so that people are more accepting and pushing for equality. The article writer seems to be in favor with being against the Indiana law and doesn’t seem to think that it is necessary.
Finally, in this article by Indystar, it gives a rundown of what the Indiana law entails. It talks about some positives and negatives of what the law will cause and what it means for the people of Indiana. It then turns focus on the governor who has to approve the bill after it was approved by the legislative body of Indiana. He still has the ability to stop the bill for a little while longer before it goes in effect as an actual law.
The articles I have analyzed are on par with other articles from around the web and on television and many are quite similar to each other. They basically all follow a general pattern of giving an idea of what is going on in Indiana with the bill and then talk about some potential consequences and effects of what the law will probably do for people. It seems that most of the articles are just giving general overviews and are not taking one side or another. However it does seem that some of the articles do seem to push against the law and hint that it might not work out very well. Things like stats on public opinion and interviews with people from Indiana also seem to point against the law. In conclusion, the general idea being received from various sources of media is that the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act is controversial and may very well end up causing more trouble for people rather than solving any real issues at hand.
Castillo, Mariano. “Things You Missed about Indiana’s Religion Law – CNNPolitics.com.” CNN. Cable News Network, 2 Apr. 2015. Web. 01 May 2015.
Cook, Tony. “Indiana House OKs Controversial Religious Freedom Bill.” Indianapolis Star. N.p., 3 Apr. 2015. Web. 01 May 2015.
Montanaro, Domenico. “Indiana Law: Sorting Fact From Fiction From Politics.” NPR. NPR, 1 Apr. 2015. Web. 01 May 2015.
Sneed, Tierney. “5 Lessons from the Indiana ‘Religious Freedom’ Law Debate.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, 2 Apr. 2015. Web. 01 May 2015.
Wofford, Taylor. “What Is That Indiana Law Everyone’s Talking About?” Newsweek. Newsweek, 31 Mar. 2015. Web. 01 May 2015.