Indiana Loses Its Game: Right now, Indiana is in a mess, and residents are worried about the loss of jobs and investment because of a meaningless and spiteful piece of legislation. They should feel free to blame their governor.

I'm admittedly not a lawyer, but a few things about the bill make me uneasy.

1) Other states included language like: "the protection of civil rights; or the prevention of discrimination; is a compelling government interest" so that there would be some adequate protections, and the Indiana legislature explicitly voted against this wording brought in the form of an amendment by Rep. Ed Delaney. Again, other states, like my state, Texas, have that stipulation in their RFRA bills.

As a lawyer in that state, can you give me any reasons why this wouldn't be necessary? The fact that other states have technically legal discrimination against homosexuals included this language makes me wonder what the argument was here. I haven't been able to find it.

2) In response to your second point, I don't see where in the bill it says something like substantially interfering with a person's exercise of religion is defined, other than

Sec. 5. As used in this chapter, "exercise of religion" includes any exercise of religion,whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.

which as far as I know would be fine if there was a clause about protecting against discrimination, but there is not.

15 years ago when the Texas law I linked above passed, the situation was different. This one here seems pretty clearly to have been passed in response to a number of recent events, not in response to what most would say is a substantial interference with a person's exercise of religion. Based on the wording of this law though, (unless I'm missing something) it could be argued and potentially successfully defended that a person could claim that not serving a person who is gay is part of their faith, and therefore they should be able to use this defense.

So for your third point, and hopefully you read this all first before responding, because I really am looking to understand, not to try and argue against your points.. As a lawyer, do you know if there are cases where people have tried to discriminate against a person not protected by the Civil Rights Act using one of the RFRA laws similar to this one? And if so, and they didn't have a case, what part of the law caused their case to be thrown out?

By the way, I don't think I understand your first point.. are you saying that IF the law allowed discrimination against homosexuals in Indiana, that it would effect less than half the state, or that it DOES allow discrimination, and overrides those municipalities that have ordinances adding homosexuals to the list of people protected from discrimination? Or neither of those? I am assuming the second, at least the part about overriding those municipalities, because an amendment was proposed to allow the laws of local municipalities to protect individuals from discrimination, but it was voted down.

I think I wrote everything I wanted to, but I have to go and want to get it to you to help me understand what you think as someone more knowledgeable when it comes to local law. Hopefully this is worded well enough.

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