Newspaper editorials have their place: usually on a page marked clearly as “opinion,” or “comment,” or “editorial.”
Except when the management of a newspaper decides an issue is so critical, so important and so compelling that they take that editorial to the front page, where everyone who sees the paper can see what’s on the editors’ minds.
The Indianapolis Star has gone out front in today’s edition with an editorial demanding that Indiana legislators and Gov. Mike Pence “fix” the state’s religious freedom law.
Good for the Star.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been seen by critics as a pretext to allow businesses to discriminate against citizens because of their sexual orientation. It protects them from lawsuits if they deny service to gay individuals. The LGBT community across the nation — and its allies — have unleashed a barrage of criticism against Indiana lawmakers and the governor for approving the bill and signing it into law.
The editorial’s headline screams “Fix This Now.” Pence is scheduled to have a news conference today to address the issue. It’s not clear whether he’ll seek to amend it, or whether he’s actually empowered to repeal it unilaterally.
The Star is asking for a new law to add to the religious freedom law that exempts LGBT residents from its provisions.
The bottom line here is the bottom line. The state is facing a serious economic impact if businesses pull out of Indiana. The NCAA men’s basketball Final Four tournament takes place next weekend in Indianapolis and the repercussions of this law can be significant.
The law looks to many folks — me included — like a pretext to sanction discrimination against a certain group of Americans. It shouldn’t stand as it is written.