Monday, March 30, 2015

Freedom Indiana Now Admits Indiana Law, Like Federal Law, Already Permitted Discrimination Against Gays

After vilifying the Indiana General Assembly and Gov. Mike Pence for supposedly enacting a form of RFRA that discriminates against gays, Freedom Indiana finally owns up to the fact that Indiana's civil rights law never protected gays from discrimination. In fact, not even the federal Civil Rights Act protects gays from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Even when Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress, there was no serious push made to expand federal civil rights protection to persons based on sexual orientation.

In a press release issued this morning, Freedom Indiana is now seeking the legislative solution it didn't seek before it cast RFRA as representing something it did not:
The "Fairness for All Hoosiers Act" legislative proposal would: 
• Update the state laws against discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations to provide protections for LGBT Hoosiers. 
• Clarify that the recently enacted RFRA cannot be used to allow discrimination prohibited under state or local laws. 
"If we don't act now, we will continue to do irreparable harm to Indiana's economy and our ability to attract top talent and jobs to our state," Katie Blair said. "We're presenting this solution as a way to start rebuilding our reputation and to move on from this harmful legislation by ensuring protections for all Hoosiers."
Let me repeat, both federal and the state's civil rights law permit discrimination against persons based on their sexual orientation. That's always been the case. While some Indiana cities, including Indianapolis, have enacted human rights ordinances with expanded civil rights protections for gays, those local ordinances are viewed as being very weak in terms of enforcement and remedies.

So will Freedom Indiana be issuing an apology to Gov. Pence and state lawmakers for falsely accusing them of passing a law that discriminates against gays? Don't count on it, and don't count on any honest reporting by the useless State House media that has aided and abetted Freedom Indiana and other opponents of RFRA in representing this legislation to the state and the nation as something it never was.

22 comments:

Paul K. Ogden said...

So Freedom Indiana viciously and unfairly attacks supporters of the RFRA, which was irrelevant to the LGBT cause, and now wants help for its legislative agenda? Who concocted this brain dead political strategy?

Lane Siekman said...

I don't think that there was any question that Indiana law did not and does not protect persons from discrimination on the basis of sexual preference but the RFRA act acts as an affirmative defense to those who choose to violate local laws and discriminate on the basis of their religious beliefs.

Gary R. Welsh said...

It adopts a standard of review modeled after the federal law for courts to apply when a person or small business owner claims government action impedes on their right to religious freedom.

Pete Boggs said...

All selection or preference is discrimination; at the distinct exclusion of other options.

The real & hypothetical baker can't be forced to cater Nazi or KKK events, anymore than they can be required to cater same sex events.

Anonymous said...

There'sno question that both sides are guilty of hypocrisy, but i am a lttle suprised at your attitude gary. When a noted homophobe (and supporter of the law)like eric miller issues statements to the effect that the law will allow discrimination against gays, what should one believe?

To me the larger issue is our governor refusing to answer the question on abc yesterday about whether he supported laws that would allow discrimination.

This is what happens when your advisors come from the far right of the political spectrum and you have no effective checks on an out of control republican majority that knows no limits to its pandering of the religious right.

Make no mistake about it: indiana's much touted economic climate that made it so attractive for firms to relocate and expand has run into a brick wall. So too has indianapolis' efforts to attract amateur and professional sports and conventions.....all of this has gone down the drain thanks to pence, bosma and long and their various panderers to the right.

Another question that should be asked is why does the indiana chamber of commerce still support the gop. The gop has screwed up education policy (common core, state board of education, center on workforce) which has long been a priority of the chamber, and now this, which goes right to the heart of business location and expansion decisions.

Thanks very much gop....

Anonymous said...

The governor could not cite any instance of religious discrimination to justify the passage of this bill. A true champion of civil rights would work tirelessly to protect the rights of ALL citizens, instead of pandering to an unharmed constituency.

Anonymous said...

here here 11:55 and all others. This bill is a political agenda here and in many states.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Eric Miller is guilty of way over the top rhetoric without question. I'm not defending his statements. The question a lawyer must ask is what is the law now and how will this law change the current law. The fact is the federal and Indiana's civil rights law doesn't categorize sexual orientation as a protected class. This law does not change that. I wouldn't have voted for this legislation if I was in the legislature not because of what its unhinged proponents or opponents have to say about it, but because I believe our framers crafted the appropriate protection in our federal and state constitutions--if judges only apply the law correctly. There are legal scholars who believe a statutory change was needed to keep in step with the federal law's interpretation in the Hobby Lobby case. Keep in mind that law dealt with mandated contraceptive coverage under the ACA. Based on all recent Supreme Court decisions regarding laws written to punish gays as a class, or to withhold rights granted to another class (i.e., opposite-sex couples), RFRA does not provide a license to discriminate against gays. As it stands now, it requires a change in federal and state civil rights laws to protect gays as a class from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce supports spending public dollars on private religious schools so the organization has no credibility with me. And I don't agree with our state Supreme Court, which found the Choice Scholarship program constitutional because the law creates the fiction the money is being given to the parents first to spend as they choose. It's a direct transfer of public funds from the state treasury to religious institutions, which I believe is prohibited by our state constitution.

c. roger csee said...

Pete Boggs:

http://blogs.findlaw.com/free_enterprise/2015/02/in-gay-couples-wedding-cake-lawsuit-ore-bakery-loses-again.html

c. roger csee said...

Pete Boggs -

http://aclu-co.org/court-rules-bakery-illegally-discriminated-against-gay-couple/

There are more.

Anonymous said...

Pete:

The ACLU has really screwed itself by coming down on the wrong side of this issue.

A leader in the gay community should have come forward long ago and told the community to respect the beliefs of others and find more welcoming merchants.

Instead, the gay community is courting open hostility, a foolish gambit.

Anonymous said...

http://advanceindiana.blogspot.com/2010/09/just-cookies-cant-discriminate-against.html

terry edwards said...

Are you people serious???!!!! You and governor pence have greatly underestimated the intelligence of the people of indiana. You live in your own " good old boy" bubble and are completely out of touch with the wants and needs of the people of indiana. Terry edwards terre haute, indiana.

Anonymous said...

"In this and like communities, public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed". Abraham Lincoln

Gary R. Welsh said...

The Just Cookies case involved a tenant in the city-owned Market Place. The City's human rights ordinance contained a specific requirement that all city vendors have a policy of not discriminating on the basis of race, sex, religion and sexual orientation. That requirement was incorporated into its lease with the city. Today, Mayor Ballard signed an executive order restating what the city's HRO already stated. The language contained in the HRO was very specific. If you recall, the HRO's sponsors backtracked and said, No, that's not what we really meant when Ballard's office sent a letter to Just Cookies pointing out the clause contained in the lease it signed with the city. Some of those same people are now on the other side blasting Gov. Pence for signing an statute undoing that which they insisted their HRO ordinance didn't do. It's a moving target. What can you say?

Sir Hailstone said...

So now Rahm Emanuel wants to recruit Indiana businesses to move into Chicago over RFRA? Wow. So let's see .. escape a "discrimination law" which really isn't to go to a city where you're taxed out the a$$, have to put up with corrupt local Aldermen and Chicago cops, then the mob and labor unions (one in the same) coming in and telling you how to run your business, telling you to pay up or your business goes KABOOM!! and the street thuggz that just come in and rob you blind.

Yeah if anyone wants that for their business - go right ahead.

http://www.ibj.com/articles/52498-religious-act-has-chicago-mayor-wooing-indiana-businesses

Anonymous said...

So Gary, a bill is passed in a political climate completely against gay marriage and only gay marriage, and then signed in a private ceremony with hate group leaders like Eric Miller, and then the governor says, oh this has NOTHING TO DO with all the gay stuff we've been talking about this WHOLE TIME, even though that's exactly what the public thinks this law is: an anti-gay law. So now this whole thing is a smear campaign against upstanding future presidential candidate Mike effing Pence?

Anonymous said...

LOL! Let's see how many companies flock to do business in gangsterland Chicago trying to escape from a bill that is meaningless in the wind up to their operations and bottomline (profit).

Mike said...

"Tolerance is a two way street". Michael Pence

Paul K. Ogden said...

Not sure what is wrong with Governor Pence's comment. Tolerance should be a two way street. I have never heard such intolerance in the name of tolerance before.

It's a shame that some people refuse to listen to the law professors and others with legal backgrounds who have come forward to explain how the RFRA works and that it's not in the slightest bit a "license to discriminate." Some people simply aren't interested in an honest presentation of what the law does.

I'm still waiting for opponents to come up with that first RFRA case which allowed someone to avoid serving a customer despite an anti-discrimination law. RFRA laws simply have nothing to do with anti-discrimination laws. If Freedom Indiana's leaders were smart they would have ran a positive campaign pushing an anti-discrimination law rather than engage the most vile, despicable, and dishonest rhetoric I've ever seen. You think members of the legislature and the Governor are in the mood to help them out now? Not hardly.

Pete Boggs said...

Anon 3:55, 3:57: Forced association is itself an act of discrimination. Whatever RFRA opponents call courage, has them ignoring terrorists throwing gay people off of buildings; while they insist on bullying those of faith or differing opinion. Courage no- hypocrisy yes.

Pepper said...

Gary,

Thank you for your continuous coverage of this issue. In countering some of the media sensationalism, I have been posting comments on Facebook pages such as the Chicago Sun Times and the London Telegraph, as so many people are reading the "Indiana anti-gay law" headlines without doing any further due diligence.

Earlier in the week, I ended my comment on the Chicago Sun Times Facebook post with this: the ability for organizations to whip people into a frenzy based on conjecture is more frightening than anything Pence could ever throw at me.

You know I am no fan of Eric Miller and Micah Clark. Obviously I held a protest against Miller a decade ago, but I have inside knowledge about how the GLBT "powers that be" work. And I recall how a representative from Planned Parenthood attempted to sink her claws into me soon after the successful protest against Miller was over. It is my impression that PP was attempting to ride on my coattails or at least get me to do some its bidding.

In 2005 it was difficult for me to conclude that the GLBT puppet masters (and puppets) in Indy were shady operatives who were no better than the people they were supposedly up against. It seemed to me even at the time that the top organization wanted only to sit back and collect donations without doing anything offensively in support of the GLBT community. What I had to wrap my head around is that the organizations supposedly fighting for GLBT rights are not unlike some cancer-fighting organizations or those that fight racial inequality: they simply don't want to tackle the problem where it begins, and they certainly don't want the cure or full equality. They wouldn't know what to do without the money. So they make a small stride here and claim a small victory there and take full advantage of the monetary opportunity that things like the "religious freedom law" brings. But at the end of the day, like the professional protestor and FBI informant Al Sharpton, they want to keep the divide in place so as to milk their communities for everything they have. I am "speaking" of course to the point that the civil rights statute in Indiana has not been amended to include sexual orientation.

Again, thank you for your fair-minded approach to this unbelievable feeding frenzy, Gary. Please keep up the good work.