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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ind. Courts - More on: Lawsuit claims RFRA "fix" and ordinances passed pursuant thereto are invalid

Updating this ILB post from Dec. 10th, Olivia Covington reports today in the Columbus Indiana Republic under the heading "City named in RFRA lawsuit." Some quotes from the lengthy story:

Columbus and its Human Rights Commission are being sued over the city’s human rights ordinance, which has protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.

Terre Haute-based Bopp Law Firm added the city, the commission and its commissioners, as well as Bloomington and its human rights commission and commissioners, as defendants to an existing lawsuit challenging the legislative fix to last year’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). That lawsuit initially was filed in late 2015 in Hamilton County, attorney Jim Bopp said.

The original lawsuit named Carmel and the city of Indianapolis-Marion County as defendants. All cities included in the lawsuit have nondiscrimination ordinances that protect LGBT residents while allowing for limited or no exceptions for religious beliefs.

Bopp filed the complaint on behalf of the plaintiffs, Indiana Family Institute, Indiana Family Action and The American Family Association of Indiana.

The groups contend that the version of RFRA in effect does not protect their constitutionally-held religious beliefs to oppose gay marriage, Bopp said. * * *

After national backlash, lawmakers amended the bill to prohibit LGBT discrimination while also providing exceptions for churches, religious schools and ministers.

The Indiana Family Institute, Indiana Family Action and American Family Association of Indiana would not qualify for those exemptions, Bopp said. That means the government could compel them to provide some services to gay couples that would go against their religious beliefs.

Additionally, Bopp said the RFRA fix favors some religious beliefs regarding same-sex marriage over others.

“The Unitarian views get preferred over the Catholics,” he said.

Similarly, the ordinances in place in the four cities named in the lawsuit would also not allow the groups to freely express their religious beliefs, Bopp said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 28, 2016 09:29 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts