Thursday, April 02, 2015

Pence's Signing Statement On RFRA Fix

Here's the text of the message Gov. Mike Pence's office just released after signing the fix to the RFRA legislation he signed into law last week before heading out of town with his family to take a European vacation.
“The freedom of religion for every Hoosier is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States and in the Indiana Constitution, which reads, ‘No law shall, in any case whatever, control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience.’ For generations, these protections have served as a bulwark of religious liberty for Hoosiers and remain a foundation of religious liberty in the State of Indiana, and that will not change. 
“Last week the Indiana General Assembly passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act raising the judicial standard that would be used when government action intrudes upon the religious liberty of Hoosiers, and I was pleased to sign it. 
“Over the past week this law has become a subject of great misunderstanding and controversy across our state and nation. However we got here, we are where we are, and it is important that our state take action to address the concerns that have been raised and move forward. 
“Last weekend I called upon the Indiana General Assembly to clarify that this new judicial standard would not create a license to discriminate or to deny services to any individual as its critics have alleged. I am grateful for the efforts of legislators, business and other community leaders who came together to forge this clarifying language in the law. 
“Hoosiers deserve to know, that even with this legislation, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act enhances protections for every church, non-profit religious organization or society, religious school, rabbi, priest, preacher, minister or pastor in the review of government action where their religious liberty is infringed. The law also enhances protection in religious liberty cases for groups of individuals and businesses in conscience decisions that do not involve provision of goods and services, employment and housing. 
“In the midst of this furious debate, I have prayed earnestly for wisdom and compassion, and I have felt the prayers of people across this state and across this nation. For that I will be forever grateful. 
“There will be some who think this legislation goes too far and some who think it does not go far enough, but as governor I must always put the interest of our state first and ask myself every day, ‘What is best for Indiana?’ I believe resolving this controversy and making clear that every person feels welcome and respected in our state is best for Indiana.  
“Our state is rightly celebrated for our pro-business environment, and we enjoy an international reputation for the hospitality, generosity, tolerance and kindness of our people. Hoosier hospitality is not a slogan; it is our way of life. Now that this is behind us, let’s move forward together with a renewed commitment to the civility and respect that make this state great.” 
Here's the text of the fix:

SECTION 1. IC 34-13-9-0.7 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE 6 AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 7 1, 2015]: Sec. 0.7. This chapter does not:
(1) authorize a provider to refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing to any member or members of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service;
(2) establish a defense to a civil action or criminal prosecution for refusal by a provider to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing to any member or members of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service; or
(3) negate any rights available under the Constitution of the State of Indiana.  

SECTION 2. IC 34-13-9-7.5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2015]: Sec. 7.5. As used in this chapter, "provider" means one (1) or more individuals, partnerships, associations, organizations, limited liability companies, corporations, and other organized groups of persons. The term does not include:
(1) A church or other nonprofit religious organization or society, including an affiliated school, that is exempt from federal income taxation under 26 U.S.C. 501(a), as amended (excluding any activity that generates unrelated business taxable income (as defined in 26 U.S.C. 512, as amended)).
(2) A rabbi, priest, preacher, minister, pastor, or designee of a church or other nonprofit religious organization or society when the individual is engaged in a religious or affiliated educational function of the church or other nonprofit religious organization or society. (Reference is to ESB 50 as reprinted March 17, 2015.)


Anonymous said...

"Our state is rightly celebrated for our pro-business environment,"

Don't be too pro-business. States that are strict with businesses are doing quite well.

Don't be in a rush to make Indiana a cold-weather Mississippi.

Eric Morris said...

My religion is statism. I own you, your children, your car, your home, your business, and your beliefs. I have the freedom to do anything; you have the freedom to do anything the fascist media and crony politicians (me) allow. I do your dirty work, whether that includes Crucifying your actual Savior 2000 years ago or making you bake a cake tomorrow. Go Colts, Pacers, and Indy Eleven--let the rest eat the cakes I force you to bake while I enjoy the circuses I just mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Waaaah! We got caught being bigoted! We're going to try to pretend that we really didn't mean what we said!

Nice try, Governor Twit.

Loved to Death said...

"First, the Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.” The federal RFRA doesn’t contain such language, and neither does any of the state RFRAs except South Carolina’s; in fact, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, explicitly exclude for-profit businesses from the protection of their RFRAs." From the Atlantic

Anonymous said...

Religious Freedom? What has Jesus asked anyone to do that you can't do in the US? Feed the hungry, help the poor, visit the widows and orphans, pray in your home or church?

Come on Christians. Tell us what freedoms you have lost. Then, be honest and tell us what you really want.

This entire brouhaha is about Christians trying to establish Christian Supremacy in America by imposing their rules; their morals. It's an attack on America and our Constitution.

Some of us just want freedom from religion. Guys like Eric Miller should scare you to death.

Anonymous said...

How ironic that in the end it was all about money. How ironic that Pence and the GOP buckled on EASTER.
For over 2000 years the price to turn on your own is always 30 pieces of silver.

Anonymous said...

This entire episode was brought about by militant homosexuality demanding that everyone unquestioningly accept anything the homosexuals want.

The problem for the militants is that people have a right to their religion that precedes the country. A right imposes nothing on anyone else.

The militants say they have a right to force people to do things. That's not a right, but a law.

Indiana has chosen to respect and protect the right, and the militants need to fight every one of these battles before the rest of the country figures out that the militants don't have much of an argument on their side.

The militants have hardened the position of the country against homosexuals with this tantrum.

Pete Boggs said...

Anon 5:29: Your initial point about Christianity makes sense (mission of the church), then falls apart; degrading into the bombastic.

A majority of the founders were people of faith, who distinctly agreed with your freedom from religion. While they recognized God (read DOI, a primary document, inextricable from the Constitution); they scripted no national religion; respecting individual sovereignty, that which they crossed an ocean & fought a revolution to gain.

Your freedom "from" is the freedom "of" for others; who no less, own their lives & labor.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Loved to Death, the federal RFRA covers business because that is the way the US Supreme Court interprered the statute.

Josh said...

So what's the point of this law if christians can be forced to participate in others sin?