Tag Archives: Indiana

Gov. Pence, we hardly knew ye

So much for Mike Pence’s White House aspirations.

The Indiana governor had been considered a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016. His state’s economy is in good shape. He’s a “telegenic” fellow, meaning he looks good on TV. He’s an articulate politician.

Then he put his name on a piece of legislation that has created a serious politicalĀ firestorm that is engulfing his state.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/04/mike-pence-indiana-2016-116569.html?hp=t2_r#.VRwXtFJ0yt8

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been viewed as a pretext to allow businesses to discriminate against gay people. It protects business owners from being sued if they refuse service to gays and lesbians based on their religious beliefs.

The backlash has been ferocious. Other state governors have banned non-essential government travel to the Hoosier State. The men’s collegiate basketball Final Four tournament to be played in Indianapolis is facing enormous economic pressure.

Gov. Pence wants to tinker with RFRA to exempt the LGBT community from discrimination.

The damage is done. RFRA has become synonymous with discrimination and, yep, it has Gov. Pence’s name on it.

A potentially crowded Republican presidential field has been narrowed — more than likely — by one.

Pence to revisit religious freedom act

A friend of mine posted this tidbit on Facebook, so IĀ thought I’d share it here.

“So who needs a religious freedom law anyway. Last time I checked, you could go to any church you want. You can even go to one where they wave snakes around if that’s your thing. Or you don’t have to go to any of ’em. You can go to a mosque, a synagogue, a cathedral, a tarpaper shack. Or you can stay home and watch re-runs on MeTV. Ain’t nobody need no law on religious freedom. Oh, but if you’re in business, you don’t have a right to discriminate. Religion stops when you invite the public to your door. Got it?”

His target? It’s the Indiana law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

http://thehill.com/homenews/news/237544-indiana-governor-in-crisis-mode

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has been taking it on the chin since signing the bill into law. He’s now seeking to amend it to ensure that businesses cannot discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation.

It’s the sexual orientation element that’s gotten so many folks riled up.

The stated intent is to protect people’s religious principles. The effect in the eyes of critics has been that the law now gives business owners license to discriminate against gay individuals or same-sex couples.

Gov. Pence has been on the defensive ever since signing the bill. He’s now seeking to fix the law and I give him credit for recognizing the need to protect his state’s residents from undue — and illegal — discrimination.

I won’t question his motives for seeking to change the law. I do feel the need to point out that Gov. Pence is considering a run for the Republican nomination for president of the United States.

 

State using religion to discriminate?

Indiana seems like a nice enough place, with nice people motivated to do nice things to and for others.

Why, then, does the state’s legislature send to Gov. Mike Pence a bill that allows people to possibly concoct a religious belief in order to discriminate against others?

Pence this past week signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prevents someone from suing, say, a business owner from doing business with you based on the business owner’s religious beliefs.

Pay attention here: The bill is aimed squarely at gays and lesbian who could be denied service from those business owners.

http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/03/29/abcs-stephanopoulos-grills-gov-mike-pence-on-an/203077

Reaction to this law has been furious. Business owners across the nation have declared their intention to cease doing business in Indiana as long as the state sanctions discrimination against their employees. With the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four tournament set to be played in Indianapolis, there could be a serious backlash that inhibits the money the state hopes to earn.

This law looks for all the world — to me at least — as if the state is using “religious freedom” as a shield to protect those who wantonly discriminate against those who have a certain sexual orientation.

What we have here looks like a misuse of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, which guarantees the right of those to hold whatever religious belief they wish. The state is suggesting the First Amendment takes precedence over the 14th Amendment, which guarantees all citizens “equal protection” under the state and federal laws.

Imagine a couple wanting, say, to buy a home. Can a lender refuse to loanĀ the couple the money to buy the home simply by pulling the “religious freedom” statute out of thin air — or out of some bodily orifice, for that matter? The law, as I understand it, prohibits the gay couple from suing the lender because the law protects the lender from being hassled over his or her religious beliefs.

The appearance of using religious liberty and freedom as a pretext to allow overt discrimination is a disgrace.