Frustration Over Religious Freedom Law Provokes Revision

kim kardashian

An enormous amount of backlash against the controversial religious freedom law has caused Indiana Governor Mike Pence to make some changes.

Initially, the new law was issued on March 26, 2015. It allowed businesses to reject services to gays and lesbians if the act of providing to them went against their religious beliefs. According to the Indiana General Assembly, the government cannot burden business owners to freely exercise this right even if the burden goes against the a rule of general applicability. The exception is if there is a compelling interest that is necessary for the government.

The legislation sparked negative reactions from all over the country. It resulted in uproar from top tier businesses from around the nation. On the Human Rights Campaign website, about 120 executives have signed a joint-statement that called for change in the law.

Among the celebrities that pitched in the fight against the religious freedom law was Rihanna. In her performance before the Final Four this last weekend, she yelled to the audience “Who’s feeling these new bulls–t laws that they’re trying to pass around here?” she asked those who attended the concert in Indiana’s White River State Park. “I say f–k that s–t! I want to hear you say, ‘F–k that s–t!’ cause we just living our motherf–king’ lives.”

According to the Huffington Post, Pence added amendments to the law last Thursday in response to the frustration expressed throughout the country. He issued a statement on that evening.

“Over the past week this law has become a subject of great misunderstanding and controversy across our state and nation,” said Pence. “However we got here, we are where we are, and it is important that our state take action to address the concerns that have been raised and move forward.”

The Indiana Governor explains that his intension for the new legislation was not to discriminate against the LBGT community. The bill was changed on April 2, 2015. Businesses are again excluded from rejecting service to an individual based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. The revisions do not affect churches or religious schools, reported the Washington Post.

The Huffington Post states that LGBT groups are relieved that the law was revised but are disappointed that Indiana did not abolish the bill completely. Due to minimal amounts of protection from bias regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, discrimination against the LBGT community is still legal to a certain extent.

Pence’s revisions have also influenced several cities to remove their travel bans on Indiana. The office of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, one of the mayors involved in placing travel restrictions as a result of the religious freedom law, has now declared to lift the ban after consulting with mayors from Oakland, San Francisco, and Portland. These mayors have agreed to cancel the bans issued in their respective cities as well. The following statement was released from the San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee;

“While not perfect, the changes made to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act represent a step in the right direction. While I believe strongly that Indiana, like many states around the country, must still add more protections to prevent discrimination against its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, I have decided to lift San Francisco’s restrictions on publicly-funded City employee travel to the State of Indiana with the hope and expectation that progress on civil rights for all Americans will continue. I also applaud cities like Indianapolis, which have taken these steps at the local level, and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, who has been a consistent champion for equality during this whole debate.”

One of the executives that signed the joint-statement, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, went on Twitter to thank Indiana for revisions of the law according to CBS Local in San Francisco. Benioff took a step further in praising the changes by posting a “Thank You Indiana” video on the company’s YouTube Channel.

 

 

 

Photo Via flickr/ Jon Delorey

 

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