April 2, 2015

Supporters Of RFRA Say Changes Destroy Religious Freedom

Supporters of RFRA rallied outside the House chamber as the bill was being debated by lawmaker. - Brandon Smith

Supporters of RFRA rallied outside the House chamber as the bill was being debated by lawmaker.

Brandon Smith

Some of the staunchest supporters of Indiana’s religious freedom bill say the “clarification language” crafted by Republican legislative leaders will destroy religious protections the controversial law created.  The legislative fix comes after concerns the measure would be used to discriminate against the LGBT community.

The bill known as RFRA allows people to use their religious beliefs as a legal defense against certain government regulations.  GOP lawmakers this week developed a follow-up bill that says RFRA can’t be used to deny services, goods, housing, or employment to anyone based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

But Eric Miller says the backlash that prompted the follow up bill is unwarranted.  Miller is the executive director of Advance America, a powerful Indiana conservative group.  He argues the outrage over RFRA is the result of a coordinated misinformation campaign by people pushing a particular agenda.

“Which is to get government recognition, government approval, adding to our civil rights laws protections for sexual orientation and gender identity," Miller said. "That’s the endgame.”

In a statement, Indiana Right to Life says the legislative clarification will dismantle protections RFRA would have provided pro-life people and businesses from being forced to support abortion.

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