‘Religious Freedom’ Act Is a Hard One to Follow

Politicians in both Indiana and Arkansas have introduced bills that will blatantly allow businesses to discriminate against gay couples.

The “Religious Freedom” bills seek to give business-owners the choice to stand by their beliefs, even if that means banning homosexuals from their establishments.

For example, if you own a bakery, or are a photographer or run a church even, the bill would allow you to refuse to provide services to gay couples wishing to get married based on your religious beliefs.  Check out what these pizzeria owners are pulling in Indiana, and yes, how that all turned out for them.  And that ain’t all.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is dealing with corporations that have threatened to punish the state for its law. Pence acknowledged that the law had become a threat to Indiana’s reputation and economy. He said he had been in talks with business leaders across the country to “make it clear that Indiana’s open for business.”

But we at JET are wondering if the backlash will affect a similar bill now making its way to Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The Republican expressed reservations about an earlier version, but recently said he would sign the bill “if it reaches my desk in similar form as to what has been passed in 20 other states,” according to The New York Times. The bill is already facing significant backlash. Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillion said that Mr. Hutchinson should veto it.

Both Arkansas and Indiana lawmakers drafted bills that diverge from the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed in 1993. The law, signed by Bill Clinton, was motivated by efforts to protect Native Americans from losing their jobs due to religious ceremonies that involved the illegal drug, peyote. Now, conservatives are drawing off of that same premise to make a case for businesses not wanting to serve same-sex couples.

In addition to Arkansas, Indiana and the 20 states that passed laws similar to the discriminatory measures, 12 states have introduced similar forms of legislation this year. The bills have stalled in Georgia and North Carolina.

Businesses do not have to agree with certain so-called lifestyles, but that should be a personal decision. In our humble estimation: the only reason why businesses should LEGALLY be allowed to refuse service is if customers are mishandling their services, or are using them to harm others.

Business is business and last time I checked, church and state were supposed to be separate.  But what do you think?  Let us know in comments.