I live in Indianapolis, in the once great state of Indiana. Today I wished I lived in another state. I have never been so ashamed of our state government and especially the Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence. He is a potential Presidential candidate for 2016 or was, until he signed the Religious Freedom Act into law last week. The result is that now the country, and the good citizens of Indiana, are in an uproar.
This new law supposedly allows for an individual or a business with certain religious beliefs to refuse service to someone else on the basis of their religious beliefs. Essentially, this law now allows merchants to refuse service to gay couples without legal backlash. It allows selective discrimination.
The examples being citied are that if you are a photographer, baker or florist and a gay couple comes to you for services and you have an issue with gays (because of religious beliefs) then you can refuse them service without reprisal of any kind. Now to me that is pretty much selective discrimination. I suppose it can go further. It can be the color of someone’s skin or the fact that they may have tattoos or piercings or anything else that someone doesn’t like, all in the name of religion.
Here we go again, religion, the word that has caused more wars and conflicts than anything else and we just allowed it to be the grounds for a way to say no to people.
During an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Pence wouldn’t say if this allowed for discrimination against gays.
Host George Stephanopoulos repeatedly asked the Republican governor whether the state’s newly passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act would allow a scenario in which “a florist in Indiana can now refuse to serve a gay couple without fear of punishment.”
Each time, Pence did not answer with yes or no.
Here’s one such exchange from a transcript of the show:
STEPHANOPOULOS: So yes or no, if a florist in Indiana refuses to serve a gay couple at their wedding, is that legal now in Indiana?
PENCE: George, this is — this is where this debate has gone, with — with misinformation and frankly …
STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s just a question, sir. Question, sir. Yes or no?
PENCE: Well — well, this — there’s been shameless rhetoric about my state and about this law and about its intention all over the Internet. People are trying to make it about one particular issue. And now you’re doing that as well.
This is exactly why I have issues with politicians because they can’t answer simple questions.
As a resident of Indiana and speaking on behalf of my wife and my friends we are shocked. We are also very upset that the state will suffer financially as many businesses curtail or pull out of doing business with Indiana. Numerous conventions have already made it clear they will not be coming to Indiana. Saleforce.com has made it clear they are pulling back on their business dealings with Indiana. Angie’s List, a prominent Indianapolis based company that was about to invest in a new headquarters in Indiana, has backed out. The CEO of APPLE, Tim Cook, has also come out against this law. (see below for a link)
Why can’t our state’s governor actually see what he has done and repeal the law while he has a chance?
What I’d like to know is what religion actually would dictate a right to discriminate against anyone?
Here are some links to stories on this hot topic . . .
Saturday Night Live couldn’t have said it better in a skit from last Saturday’s show
LA Times had a good article.
Huffington Post – Charles Barclay has his opinion
Indianapolis Star – Indianapolis’s home town paper
The Washington Post – Tim Cook, CEO of Apple has a lot to say on this topic.
And, finally this one from the New Yorker Really? What rock has Pence been living under?
The list goes on. A number of states already have enacted this law, but Indiana is the state that broke the camel’s back. We can only hope that we see this law reversed.
Back in the George W Bush’s Presidential days, when I traveled through Europe, many Americans were not looked at in a good light due to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. When my friends took me around to many special spots, they asked if they might introduce me as a Canadian. In light of this highly discriminatory new law, I now have to consider whether I even want to say I am from the state of Indiana. Not all people form Indiana support this law. I would venture to say most don’t.
So, I’ll close and make it public. I do not support this law or any form of discrimination.