Thursday, April 2, 2015

Indiana GOP Lawmakers release their 'Fixed' version of RFRA

These Repubs think they're slick.

After the huge backlash over the Indiana RFRA foolishness, Republicans vow to fix the law, by adding language that supposed to mirror the federal RFRA.

But this newer version does not add LGBT protections to the law, nor includes religious groups. This version is still weak and problematic.

Think Progress breaks it down:
Indiana’s RFRA will no longer trump state or local laws banning anti-gay discrimination: The fix provides that Indiana’s RFRA does not authorize businesses “to refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodation, goods, employment, or housing to any member or members of the general public” on the basis of a list of protected traits that includes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Another provision provides that the state’s RFRA law does not “establish a defense to a civil action or criminal prosecution” brought against someone who engages in such discrimination. This language appears broad enough to permit local ordinances protecting gay and trans rights to function against business owners with religious objections to LGBT people. It also would enable a similar state law to function, were the Indiana legislature to pass such a law in the future.

The fix does nothing about Hobby Lobby: At the same press conference where Pence announced that he was open to language protecting against anti-LGBT discrimination, he also cited the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision as an example of what he hoped the fixed RFRA bill would still accomplish. It remains to be seen whether the Indiana courts will interpret the state’s RFRA bill the way that the Supreme Court read federal RFRA in Hobby Lobby — that is, whether they will allow religious objections to be used to diminish the rights of others. It is likely, however, that state courts will follow the Supreme Court’s lead, as they often do when tasked with interpreting similar laws.

The fix does not apply to religious groups: Though the fix protects against discrimination by most individuals and businesses, it does still permit RFRA to be invoked by churches, nonprofit religious organizations or clergy who engage in discrimination.

LGBT people in Indiana gain no new rights from the fix: In the wake of the backlash against the original Indiana RFRA law, many LGBT rights groups hope that the state would enact anti-discrimination provisions protecting gay and trans people in Indiana at the state level. The fix includes none of these protections. What that means is that LGBT people who live in cities like Indianapolis will regain the rights they already enjoyed before the state RFRA law took effect, but LGBT people who were unprotected before this law will remain unprotected.
So, in other words, it's really not a 'fix'.

You can read it for yourself, here

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Viktor is a small town southern boy living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Twitter, writing about pop culture, politics, and comics. He’s the creator of the graphic novel StrangeLore and currently getting back into screenwriting.