Over the past few years in the United States, laws against gay marriage have been repeatedly overturned by the court system. As of April 2, thirty-seven states have legalized gay marriage. On October 6, 2014 gay marriage became legal in the state of Indiana. Last week, the Indiana Legislature passed the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”
This law, scheduled to take effect on July 1, has all kinds of provisions that would allow small businesses to refuse service to gays or lesbians at their discretion if they thought their religious freedoms were being violated. Although gay marriage is legal in Indiana, there are no laws that protects gays from discrimination.
Both Gov. Dan Malloy, a Democrat from Connecticut, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat from New York, banned non-essential state-funded travel to Indiana until further notice in protest of the law, outraged at Indiana’s legislature. After this announcement, Division I Men’s Basketball coaches from universities like Stony Brook, Binghamton, Buffalo and Albany who were planning on attending the March Madness Final Four games and surrounding events in Indianapolis, Ind. this weekend cancelled their plans. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said that Gov. Cuomo’s travel ban would apply to the whole SUNY system as well.
On Tuesday, March 31 Gov. Pence called for the state legislature to “fix” the law, and claims he was offended by the public’s accusations that the law intended for discrimination against gays and lesbians. He requested for a follow-up measure to make sure that isn’t the case.
Personally, I think this law is one of the dumbest, most poorly written laws. I understand the public tends to believe everything they hear and make a mountain out of a molehill, but if so much of the public and even other state officials think that the law is meant to discriminate against gays and lesbians then it must not be too far off from that. If it’s really not meant to discriminate, then maybe Indiana’s legislature should work on their policy writing skills, which they’re clearly lacking.
Also, how in the world is providing services to a gay or lesbian person in any way a violation of freedom of religion? I was raised in a very traditional, Christian home and I have zero issues with gays and lesbians. Providing a service for them wouldn’t offend me, and it shouldn’t offend anyone else.
Religions aren’t supposed to be discriminatory. They should be accepting of all people, no matter their background or values. I was never taught to look down on others because they have a different lifestyle than mine, and I don’t plan on starting, especially by using religion as a defense.
This law could potentially prevent someone who is gay or lesbian from shopping at their favorite store, or eating a delicious dish from their favorite restaurant. That isn’t right, and it doesn’t even make sense. What difference does it make if a homosexual shops in a certain store or eats at a certain restaurant? If anything they’re contributing to the economy of small businesses, and I don’t know why an owner would forbid someone from giving them money because of who they are as a person.
Freedom is one of the main tenants in the U.S. and something we as a country are proud of. It shouldn’t be taken away from anyone no matter if they love the same sex or the opposite sex. Love is love. After so many steps forward in accepting those who are homosexual, laws like this take a huge step back from the progress our country has made for equal treatment of all people.
There are a lot more things to worry about. More importantly, there shouldn’t be laws like this where a group of people feel as though they’re being discriminated against. Someone being gay or lesbian doesn’t affect you at all, let them be treated equally and get over it.