Between buildings exploding in New York City and the story of a deranged pilot crashing a passenger jet into a mountain, Indiana’s Gov. Mike Pence signed the first state-based ‘relgious freedom’ measure into law today. In fact, the governor signed the bill in ‘private’ — which is a signal in itself that the law is shameful and dangerous. Via The Indianapolis Star:
The nation’s latest legislative battle over religious freedom and gay rights came to a close Thursday when Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (above) signed a controversial “religious freedom” bill into law.
His action followed two days of intense pressure from opponents — including technology company executives and convention organizers — who fear the measure could allow discrimination, particularly against gays and lesbians.
Pence and leaders of the Republican-controlled General Assembly called those concerns a “misunderstanding.”
“This bill is not about discrimination,” Pence said, “and if I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it.”
Senate Bill 101 prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion — unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it. It takes effect July 1.
The negative response was rapid. The Salesforce CEO tweeted that his company would stop investing in the state to spare its employees the fact that they could be discriminated against for any reason:
These religious liberty laws are in motion in a number of other states and nobody is fooled – they are a desparate attempt by anti-LGBT forces to proactively counter an expected SCOTUS ruling in June that would make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. They allow people to discrimnate against anyone for any reason if serving that individual violates their religious beliefs. Because Jesus.
One would bet that this law, or a cadre of other ones waiting in the wings, will make its way through court challenges and will likely be ruled unconstitutional in the future.
Perhaps the best “shut ’em down” tweets came from Broadway star and Tony winner Audra McDonald:
I am sure that we haven’t seen the end of this terrible day. More to come…