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Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "Can States Protect LGBT Rights Without Compromising Religious Freedom?"

That is the title to a long Atlantic article today by Emma Green. A few quotes:

The irony of gay marriage becoming legal in the United States is that it has made discrimination against LBGT people easier. For example: Many newlywed couples may be asking their employers for spousal benefits for the first time. Depending on where they live, it may or may not be illegal for that employer to respond by firing them—something that happened in a number of states in 2015. Some state legislatures have tentatively taken on this issue; Pennsylvania and Idaho, for example, both saw bills introduced in 2015. But in many places, these efforts are complicated by a tangled political question: Should these laws make exceptions for religious individuals and organizations that object to employing and providing services to gay people?

This question could produce some of the biggest political fights of 2016. Gay-rights advocates are planning to push hard for discrimination protections, while religious-liberty groups continue to raise concerns about protecting people’s freedom of conscience. Meanwhile, state-level legislators are caught in the middle, no longer able to avoid a contentious set of issues many would rather have ignored.

In Indiana, a draft bill outlawing discrimination, which also offers exemptions for some religious objections, is scheduled for a first reading this week in the Senate. After the state took a political beating last spring for a wide-ranging religious-freedom-protection proposal, many businesses threatened to boycott the state. LGBT organizations are preparing to invest money and advocacy resources there. A renewed political fight was coming to the state, even without the Republican proposal. “It's smart for them to initiate the discussion,” said Doug NeJaime, a law professor at UCLA. “They're going to put out the first model.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 6, 2016 01:01 PM
Posted to Indiana Government