Sometimes it takes me awhile to process concepts. Such is the case with Indiana’s so-called ‘Religious Freedom’ legislation, so forgive me for being so tardy, but I finally have figured out what it is that bothers me so much about it.
Push aside the whole blanket LGBT discrimination angle, and what you find is a bill that pretty much says that anyone in Indiana can discriminate against anyone – which of course flies in the face of Federal statutes in place to prevent exactly that.
What bothers me is that a law that should pertain solely to individuals is being parsed out to public businesses. Businesses operate to provide services. If you take money from people to provide a service, then you are a business.
An individual has the right to practice whatever religion they wish, so long as no local, state, or federal laws are broken. Religion is – and should be – a very private thing; something that is individual in nature, even if practiced in group settings. If a congregation / sect / church doesn’t wish to perform gay marriages within their temple / synagogue / glass tower – and the majority of people belonging to said congregation / sect / church feels that gay marriage goes against their principles, in the same way that say an animal sacrifice would not be welcome – then I can understand that.
It’s not loving. It’s not inclusive. But, then, most religions aren’t either of those things, either by design or due to group consensus.
The problem with ‘Religious Freedom’ as defined in Indiana is that they wish to extend that right to businesses that serve the general public – and that, my friends, is discrimination – in all its many horrific forms. And bigots who own businesses get that. They welcome it.
The law wasn’t but a day old and some stupid pizza shop announced that they would not cater gay weddings. They believe that being gay is something gay folk choose, just as they claim to choose to be heterosexual. Well, needless to say, the hammer came down pretty hard social media-wise and the shop is currently closed.
The reaction from other states, businesses, organizations, and celebrities has been just as scathing and detrimental to Indiana’s bottom line. Events have been cancelled, boycotts called for, with the skeptical eyes of the nation zeroing in on the Hoosier state, costing it big bucks.
In light of the backlash, Governor Pence, who made such a big deal out of signing the damn thing, is calling for changes to be made to the law. Now, Jeb Bush, with his eye on the White House, has softened his support of the bill, as have other politicians who initially proclaimed the law as just and timely.
Sorry, Indiana, but the damage has been done. At this point you might as well fly the confederate flag and post ‘no gays at counter’ signs. The precedence of condoned discrimination will now forever be part of your legacy.