Monday, March 30, 2015

Indiana steps in it

So, Govenor Mike Pence signed a "religious freedom" act, in a room where he was surrounded by religious in habits and notorious anti-gay campaigners.  And now he's having to defend this mess against a righteous backlash.

Indiana's law goes farther than any other law for several reasons.  First, most such acts reflect acts of government that impinge on an individuals exercise of religion.  And they do not superseded existing anti-discrimination protections.

Indiana's law applies not just to individuals, but to for-profit companies, and not just to government interactions, but to interactions between citizens.  It is broad and sweeping.

Ed Kilgore writes,
So Indiana is trying to create a genuinely plenary zone of sanctioned discrimination, including every kind of entity and protecting discriminators from legal action from any direction. The first point carries it beyond SCOTUS interpretation of the federal RFRA in the Hobby Lobby case as covering "closely held" corporations, but not all for-profits. And the second means Indiana isn't just protecting religious folk against the all-powerful government, but against the very targets of their discrimination.
He adds,
If Pence was more adept as a communicator, he might have tried the "grand bargain" defense: "religious liberty" protections are in effect a surrender by cultural conservatives who will stop trying to ban things they don't like in exchange for an assurance they can quietly live their lives according to their faith. But Indiana's example is actually blowing up that argument as well. The more they talk about it, advocates of broad-based "religious liberty" laws sound like those conservatives back in the day who offered to accept the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if the public accommodations section was removed.
In 1964, a South Carolina Barbeque owner named Maurice Bessinger argued that his religious beliefs meant that he did not have to serve blacks in his restaurants (and he also felt slavery was religiously justified.  The federal court found that religious beliefs did not justify discriminatory behavior in public accommodation.  Why is this different?

Oh, yeah.  Teh Gayz.


JCF said...

Remember my not-so-secret vice, EWTN? About 3 years ago, they started HAMMERING away on the meme of "Religious Liberty". And then who surrounded Pence at the signing?

[We talk about Christian(ist) florists and photographers vis-a-vis same-sex weddings. But let's not forget those Roman Catholic adoption agencies, who---while they might not check who's using birth control, who's fornicating, who's remarried w/o an annulment (Het cetera!)---nevertheless go @pesh*t when a same-sex couple wants to adopt.]

Karen said...

IT, somewhat off topic, but a Facebook page for my denomination (Disciples of Christ) has had considerable discussion on the Indiana law, especially after our General Board voted to move the 2017 general assembly out of Indianapolis if the law was enacted. General Board will start their annual meeting later today and will take up what to do about the site for GA'17- was the change in the law enough to stay in Indianapolis. The folks that say "no gay gene has been found - it must be a choice" have been typing their little fingers to the bone. What ever decision is made I am sure it will start up again. I would like to do something more useful than get involved in the "yes it is/no it isn't" debate. May I give a link to your page on genetics? Thanks. Karen

IT said...

Absolutely link !

For those who say no gene has been found, you might point out that over 180 genes are thought to influence height. And those genes are thought to account for at most 10% of the variation in height. Thus, complex traits have a lot more involved than a single gene.

And I am a professor of genetics so I know of what I write.