After a nation-wide public backlash against Indiana's new "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" by people and business leaders who called the legislation anti-gay, politicians in the states have announced that they will change some of the wording of the law to protect homosexuals from discrimination. Still, the revisions have not been passed into law yet, and Governor Mike Pence will need to sign and approve these revisions in order for them to become a reality.
New Language Protects Against Discrimination
According to the language of the amendment, businesses and service providers may not use the religious freedom law as an excuse to deny goods, products, services, accommodations and facilities to certain individuals. Language is also included, which prohibits discrimination on the bases of ancestry, religion, color, race, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, U.S. military service or gender identity. Churches, religious schools and nonprofit religious groups, however, are exempt from these provisions.
According to Indiana House of Representatives Speaker Brian Bosma, the amendment is a "very strong statement" that the state of Indiana will not allow discrimination within its borders. He further said that the legislation "cannot be used to discriminate against anyone." Both the Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long and Bosma agree that they have garnered sufficient support to pass the amendment. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the governor's office said that Pence will not ensure that he will sign the amendment until a finalized copy of the amendment arrives at his desk.
A Step in the Right Direction?
The business leaders who opposed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act -- many of whom said that they would not travel or conduct business in Indiana -- labeled the amendment as a step in the right direction. Although the LGBT community is not specifically referenced as protected under Indiana's civil rights law, Bosma claims that state politicians met with LGBT leaders and they feel the language resolves many of the community's concerns.
Should Indiana apologize for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and how it allegedly discriminated against the LGBT community? Should other states repeal their so-called religious freedom laws, too? Tell us what you think below.
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