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Indiana Gov. Signs Controversial ‘Religious Freedom Restoration’ Bill

Indiana Gov. Signs Controversial ‘Religious Freedom Restoration’ Bill

Today, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a controversial measure that critics fear could lead to discrimination against the LGBT community. The bill recently passed a vote in the state’s largely Republican House and Senate. Supporters of the bill say the measure isn’t meant to target gay and lesbian residents but rather, as Gov. Pence explained to CNN, provides protection for businesses “if a government is going to compel you to act in a way that violates your religious beliefs.” At the signing, Pence cited the example of the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case, in which the corporation argued that it should not have to provide certain types of birth control—that it holds a moral opposition to—to employees as part of the Affordable Care Act. In a statement, Pence said, “This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it.” Currently, 18 other states have similar bills.

However, the bill’s opponents say that it could potentially allow businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers. As CNN notes, the state does not currently have any laws that protect residents from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. On the website of Eric Miller, one of the lobbyists who championed the measure and was at the bill-signing, specific examples of Christian businesses not having to be required to provide services at the weddings of gay and lesbian couples was cited. Several large organizations have said that the bill may make them reconsider holding large conferences in the state …

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