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Friday, December 11, 2015

Ind. Courts - "Conservative groups' lawsuit says RFRA fix unconstitutional"

Updating the ILB's posts from yesterday (here and here), Stephanie Wang of the Indianapolis Star today has an excellent story examining the law suit. A sample:

The lawsuit presents an unusually convoluted situation — even Jim Bopp, the prominent conservative attorney in Terre Haute who is representing the case, acknowledges that.

But, simply put: The lawsuit asks the court to throw out the RFRA fix, and then makes a claim under the original RFRA that local nondiscrimination ordinances are undue government intrusions on the free exercise of religion and other First Amendment rights.

Essentially, it asks the court to choose between the competing interests that have clashed over RFRA for the past year: At the intersection of deeply held evangelical beliefs and rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, whose rights need to be protected?

Indiana’s original Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which passed into law this year with considerable conservative influence, sets a judicial standard for weighing religious objections. But, after outcry over whether that would allow Christians to discriminate against the LGBT community, lawmakers added the fix to prevent RFRA from being used to supersede local and state civil rights laws.

Now, religious conservatives say the fix does not afford equal protection to people of all faiths. It does not permit evangelical Christians to raise religious objections based on their views on marriage and sexuality — but it allows the objections of other faiths who don’t hold those beliefs.

“This pits some religions that the government protects against other religions that will suffer government punishment if they don't fall in line,” Bopp said in a statement. “We believe this discrimination between religious views is unconstitutional.”

The fix, the lawsuit said, “was in response to protests against RFRA by those who want to force others to not just passively accept persons and conduct inconsistent with the biblical view on marriage and sexual relations but to compel active participation with, and support for, such persons and conduct regardless of a religious objection.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 11, 2015 08:24 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts