Controversial Indiana law isn’t same as 1998 Illinois measure

SHARE Controversial Indiana law isn’t same as 1998 Illinois measure
RFRA_CST_033115_1_999x664.jpg

Thousands of opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, gathered on the lawn of the Indiana State House to rally against that legislation on Saturday. | Associated Press

In trying to defend a new law that critics say was designed to allow discrimination of gays on religious grounds, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence compared the controversial legislation to a similar — but different — Illinois law.

Pence noted that at the time it was passed in 1998, it had the support of an Illinois state senator named Barack Obama.

However, the “See! They have it, too!” argument doesn’t hold up, according to Camilla Taylor, an attorney with Lambda Legal, a national gay civil rights group.

Indiana’s version of RReligious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is similar to an Illinois law passed in 1998 in that both state that government can’t substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion without a compelling governmental interest to justify that burden.

“The main difference is that Illinois has a law that expressly prohibits discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity, so any interpretation of RFRA would have to be interpreted in concert with this non-discrimination law,” Taylor said.

“Indiana has no such non-discrimination law, and the proponents of this bill rejected any clarification or addition that would acknowledge the importance of prohibiting discrimination,” Taylor said.

Indiana Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane, left, D-Anderson, and Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, call for the repeal of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act during a press conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis on Monday. | Associated Press

The Latest
Employees of the online retailer walked out to protest a policy requiring corporate employees to return to the office three days a week and want its carbon footprint reduced.
The deal passed by a bipartisan coalition, despite pushback from conservatives and progressives, restricts spending for two years, suspends the debt ceiling until 2025 and imposes work rules for older people receiving food aid.
The off-duty cop, whose age wasn’t released, was shot in the arm, then returned gunfire but it wasn’t clear if anyone else was shot.
These chefs are part of a younger generation giving voice to the Filipino American experience through the language of food.