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Opening Arguments

The great RFRA freakout

My goodness. Indiana sort of got real famous real fast, huh? If we get verbally firebombed by one more preening liberal or boycotted by one more airheaded CEO, we might as well roll up our tent and go home, huh? Kinda the point, I'm guessing.

In case you dont feel like reading through the avalanche of stories about our passage of RFRA, I've picked two that seem representative.

Here's the one representing the "Oh, my God, the sky is falling, and it's going to land right on gays and lesbians" school of thought.

Of all the state “religious freedom” laws I have read, this new statute hints most strongly that it is there to be used as a means of excluding gays and same-sex couples from accessing employment, housing, and public accommodations on the same terms as other people. True, there is no actual language that says, All businesses wishing to discriminate in employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation, please check this “religious objection” box. But, as Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.” 

And here;s the "Nothing to see here, move along" side:

. . .  the words “gay,” “lesbian,” and “sexual orientation” don’t appear in any of the RFRAs. Until now, the most controversial RFRA case was last year’s Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, which was about whether the federal government has a compelling interest in forcing religious business owners to pay for abortifacents. (It doesn’t.)

This big gay freak-out is purely notional. No RFRA has ever been used successfully to defend anti-gay discrimination, not in twenty years of RFRAs nationwide.

I'm more inclined to the latter view, given the 20 years without a single case of what everybody is freaking out about. But our law does have a couple of provisions that make it different from most of the ones in other states, si I guess we wait and see.


Mon, 03/30/2015 - 11:01am

 Pence made a complete ass of himself on "This Week" Sunday dodging question after question and refusing to say whether he believed it should be legal to discriminate against gays and lesbians under state law. In fact, on eight different occasions he refused to answer a simple yes-or-no question.  When you say our law has "a couple of provisions" that make it different that's an understatement. Do the research.  The reason there hasn't been a "case in 20 years" is because past laws are benign compared to this radical legislation.

But let's cut to the chase.  Pence is a wannabe GOP Presidental hopeful. He was playing politics pandering to the extreme evangelical nut jobs in the GOP trying to establish his conservative creds on social issues by moving right of Scott Walker  and instead, turned it into a career-ending performance.  Now Mikey is trying to spin his way out without caving on his creds. Pathetic to watch the little man squirm, Pence is essentially Dan Quayle.  A more articulate Dan Quayle, yes, mainly due to his past as a talk radio host, but in truth, he's as politically inept as Mr. Potatoe.