On March 26, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill passed in the Indiana House just days before.
This bill has stirred up a ton of controversy due to the wording in it. Part of it stated, “A governmental entity may not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability,” specifically in section 8 provision (b) of the bill.
The wording allows for businesses to deny service to LGBTQ individuals in order to follow the beliefs of owners’ religious practices.
This caused protests all over the country, especially since Gov. Pence received backlash about the bill for two days before he signed it into law.
“This bill is not about discrimination,” the New York Times quoted Pence as saying, “and if I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it.”
Gov. Dan Malloy of Connecticut announced through twitter that he will sign an executive order barring state-funded travel to Indiana, “making Connecticut the first state to boycott Indiana over its new law,” according to Time Magazine.
One business, Memories Pizza, supports the bill and even stated, “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no. We are a Christian establishment.” People all over the country have expressed disapproval concerning the Indiana law, even taking to the Internet to express their outrage. Memories’ statement did not help to ease tensions about the law. Multiple people flocked to the popular site Yelp, expressing their anger at the pizzeria by writing bad reviews about the business.
Robert D’Alessandro, a freshman at the University of Maryland, stated about the law, “all this law will do is discriminate against different groups of people that do not fit in the eyes of those who practice religion. The LGBT community will be negatively impacted by this law and if more laws like this get passed, I believe we will become a country of intolerance, rather than freedom.”
The NCAA even weighed in on the bill, stating that if the law was not changed, the organization would reconsider hosting future events in Indiana.
On April 2, Gov. Pence signed a revised version of the bill into law after he realized that the law created an uproar of controversy for the state.
The wording was changed to include that no “provider…may deny service to anyone on basis of sexual orientation, race, religion or disability.”
The law goes into effect in July, even though some still believe that changing the wording of the law is not enough to stop the discrimination of the LGBTQ community in Indiana.