Jonathan Rauch has an insightful take on Indiana — and Utah.
You gotta feel bad for Mike Pence. The Republican governor of Indiana signs a religious-freedom bill. It’s only a bit more capacious than a long-established federal law, the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It’s only a bit more sweeping than similar laws in 19 other states. And yet half the world comes screaming down on Indiana’s head. Who could have imagined?
Only anyone who reads the news. Perhaps Pence missed the news that Arizona’s legislature passed a similar law (ultimately vetoed by the governor) in 2014 and got exactly the same national firestorm by way of reaction.
The problem with Indiana’s new religious-freedom law, and for that matter with Arizona’s proposed law and with similar legislation advancing in other states, isn’t what’s written in the statute; it’s the intent with which the statute was written. The laws are now seen, not inaccurately, as targeting gay and lesbian Americans. As a…
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