Indiana Religous Freedom Bill

Jacob Harrison

Background Information

The controversial Indiana Religious Freedom Bill was approved on March 26, 2015, and Indiana Governor Mike pence signed it into law. This law was designed to set standards by which cases involving religious objections will be judged. This bill states that the government cannot intrude on a person's religious liberty unless it can prove a compelling interest in imposing burden and do so in the least restrictive way. The biggest problem brought up by this law is if it discriminates against the LGBT community.
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This bill has been one of the most polarizing events in recently history. It caused an uproar across the nation. One side views this legislation as the protection of the people's religion and how they express it. It entails that businesses located in cities without local nondiscrimination laws can deny service to those that conflict with their beliefs. Stores and restaurants can choose not to cater for gay events, such as weddings. It was also meant to give pastors and ministers the right to deny conducting a gay marriage. The people opposed to the bill claim that it targets the gay community. They say that this bill creates, or allows, discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Many citizens have protested against the bill, and businesses halted expansion or production within the state.
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Media Portrayal

Varies news sources bash the new bill, as well further explaining what it was meant to do. Celebrities such as Hillary Clinton and Miley Cirus have noted negative comments toward the bill. The governor of Connecticut went as far as to suspend government travel to the state. The media singles out Indiana for this act, because the other 19 states with similar acts have state legislation against discrimination while Indiana does not. It is said that the bill was in respond the legalization of gay marriage. However, officials say that it was not intended to promote or encourage discrimination.

Personal Bias

It is hard to take a side on this issue. However, I would have to side with the creation of the bill. Businesses and religious leaders should have the freedom to choose who they serve and what opposes their beliefs. Of course in doing so, discrimination of gay people arises. It is impossible to avoid angering one side or the other. Although they might be rejected at an establishment, odds are that LGBT people could easier find another suitable place to go. Freedom of religion was established far before gay rights were established. Just because new beliefs arise, doesn't mean that old beliefs should fade away.
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Viewing this event through the lens of cultural criticism leads to the differences between the beliefs of the two sides to the bill. It was meant to protect was people from having to go against their customs. A variety of religious organizations are opposed to homosexuality, and being forced to serve gay couples would be hard for them. A Marxist viewpoint could be that politicians are using their power to fight against gay marriage. They fought against the marriage laws, but were overturned by the Supreme Court's decision. This bill also effects the economy of the state. Business owners are leaving the state, and neighboring states have suspending government traveling through the region.
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"IN, AR Pass Revised Religious Objection Proposals." WOODTVcom. 2 Apr. 2015. Web. 6 May 2015.


McClam, Erin. "Religious Freedom Restoration Act: What You Need to Know." NBC News. 30 Mar. 2015. Web. 6 May 2015.


Wang, Stephanie. "What the 'religious Freedom' Law Really Means for Indiana." Indianapolis Star. 3 Apr. 2015. Web. 6 May 2015.