A new law in Indiana has angered gay rights advocates across the nation. The "Religious Freedom" bill was signed into law by Indiana Governor Mike Pence on Thursday. The language in the legislation could give individuals and businesses the right to deny services to homosexuals.
The supporters of the bill say that it prevents the government from making business owners and individuals act in a way that does not comport with their religious beliefs. Opponents claim that the law is far broader than similar legislation to promote religious freedom in other states and that it puts the rights of gays in jeopardy.
Law Follows Legalization of Gay Marriage in the State
The new Indiana law was pushed through the state legislature following numerous court decisions throughout the country, including Indiana, which have served to legalize gay marriage.
According to Indiana's Governor, many people are afraid that their beliefs and religious freedoms are being attacked by the government. However, according to some legal experts, the new law will provide an avenue for religious adherents to bring claims of religious freedom in court.
Public Figures Up in Arms
Numerous celebrities and business leaders have issued statements about plans to boycott Indiana for creating this piece of legislation which could jeopardize the civil rights of the homosexual population. For example, the Chief Executive Officer of San Francisco-based Salesforce., Inc., publicly announced that his company will be canceling any program that requires travel to Indiana. Further, the Mayor of San Francisco Edwin Lee expressed his disapproval of the law and said that his city employees would be barred from traveling there, unless it was necessary for public safety and health.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce President in Indiana said that the law was entirely unnecessary and will only create unwanted attention for the state. Gay marriage recently became legal in India in 2014, and gay activists are afraid that the law will allow businesses to refuse their services at gay weddings.
It is important to remember that just as new laws can be made, new laws can also be repealed. This piece of Indiana legislation therefore does not have to be a permanent part of its legal system, and we will have to wait and see if it can stand the test of time.
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