Interesting article from right and conservative leaning political news website The Politico Indiana law backs GOP hopefuls into a corner.
In one of my first emails to Gov. Pence’ office protesting this law, I concluded by thanking him, by the way, for totally destroying any chance he had of running for the office of the President by signing and defending this law.
Now he can add to his accomplishments earning the endearing gratitude of all the current GOP hopefuls planning to or already running for the nomination by the GOP in the next presidential election.
Mike Pence just lobbed a grenade into the Republican presidential field.
The Indiana governor’s religious freedom law has ignited yet another controversial culture war debate that has Republican contenders juggling awkward questions about issues they would just as soon not touch.
This time around, the policy issue isn’t same-sex marriage — it’s about nondiscrimination laws and whether they should accompany Religious Freedom Restoration Acts like the one just passed in Indiana.
But regardless, Republicans are getting pummeled over gay rights issues of all sorts — and face the familiar dilemma of whether a conservative stance that makes for good politics in a GOP primary will hurt them in a general election.
A New York Times editorial called Indiana’s law a “cover for bigotry” and said “nobody is fooled” by conservatives’ misdirection as to the law’s purpose. Video of Rand Paul calling homosexuality a “behavior” surfaced on BuzzFeed. And a Democratic governor used the term “bigot” to describe Pence and by extension the potential 2016 candidates lining up behind him, who so far include Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rick Perry.
Among the comments posted to the online article, I found one which went into depth to explain the specifics of why the Indiana law is so bad, and how, contrary to what many are trying to deny, it is profoundly different from other RFRA laws in other states passed over the last decade. The following paragraphs zero in on the key distinctions. Of course as I noted in an earlier post, all of this was pointed out to the Indiana legislature by a large group of legal scholars who had studied the pending bill, BEFORE it was passed.
But that was not what the Indiana GOP was after. They wanted to pass a law that, plain and simple, allowed people to discriminate based on their religious beliefs, and foremost in the minds of all was the ability to resist extension of simple civil liberties and rights to gay and lesbian persons. The fact that Pence cannot bring himself to utter the simple words, “OK, we will fix this by adding language to forbid discrimination against people by gender, race, etc.” is the proof of the pudding. This is a Right to Discriminate Law. Period. Full stop.
The primary difference between the Indiana law and law signed by Clinton is as follows: The Indiana law is broad and allows a defendant in a PRIVATE suit to use a “religious belief” exception against a claim based on state law “regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.” It also allows businesses to discriminate based on a ‘business’ religious belief. The RFRA signed by President Clinton pertains to individual defendants claiming that certain GOVERNMENT actions or statutes impose a substantial burden on their free exercise of religion. Also, UNLIKE INDIANA, many of the other states that have enacted these religious freedom laws have anti-discrimination provisions in place that businesses cannot discriminate against homosexuals, and they can’t turn them away from hiring positions for the sole reason of being gay as well.
These discriminatory laws should be repealed nationwide, and Americans and businesses should rise up and speak out against these laws. Here are some actual cases: 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. What’s next – people can say: Per my religious beliefs, I don’t like and should not have to do business with certain races, religions, people with long hair, men, women, straights, gays, parents, people who vaccinate their children, two handicapped people getting married, sterile couples, Muslim convenience store owner tells an evangelical Christian woman to get out of his store until she puts on a headscarf or full burka, etc., so they can refuse to provide service and discriminate against various groups.