Last week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, aimed at protecting an individual’s religious freedom from government intervention. It gives business owners a stronger legal defense of they refuse to serve LGBTQ+ customers and can cite their faith as a justification. Is this a protection of deeply held individual beliefs or a mask to discriminate against select members of society?
Sophomore business administration major
Yes, to an extent the government should not intervene with religious matters, however, this goes beyond the scope of religion and is a form of legal discrimination. Businesses should be able to refuse serving customers but not based on their identities. To refuse to serve LGBTQQIA customers is equivalent to refusing serve a customer because of their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or other identifies.
As a lesbian, this bill immediately scared me because of what it could mean for the LGBTQ+ community. I do believe that even if the intention of the bill isn’t to mask discrimination, it is what some people will use it for. The LGBTQ+ community is one that already feels a lack of government protection, and this scary move made by one state has already started to inspire other states, like Arkansas. Everyone in this country is free to practice whatever religion they want. It’s in our first amendment. What is not okay is discriminating against anyone, regardless of what religion you practice, but this bill makes discrimination okay if someone chooses to argue it that way. Additionally, it’s not just queer people at risk, it’s people who practice other faiths as well. So ultimately I think this bill can definitely do more harm than good.
I think its in the matter of context. Indiana already poses as a very conservative state as it is. And, with this whole “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”, “protecting an individual’s religious freedom” thing being approved— it honestly just sounds like the governments excuse of “I don’t want to deal with people filing complaints and I don’t want too get deep into finding a real justified solution”. It’s like giving a kid candy to shut them up— it doesn’t solve anything in the long run but it’s a short term solution to ease the ruckus.