This passage of RFRA in Indiana is very interesting. The law, the reaction, the ignorance on Twitter. Lots of thought provoking- and head shaking- moments.
I conversed- or debated may be a better word- the effects of this law with some people on Facebook. I never said whether I personally was for or against the law but argued that the law was not as harmful as people thought it would be. I said it would be a moot point.
Contrary to the headlines, the law does not allow for legalize discrimination against anyone. Read the bill. It does not supersede any federal discrimination laws.
I feel that is a very important thing to point out. Headlines on "news" sites claim that the law allows discrimination. This is very damaging because people read that and fail to go read the story. Worse yet, the same false allegation may be repeated within the piece without any balance. This causes the uproar and the Twitter universe goes bonkers. You can see it in the tweets that people are reading to headlines. Thats it. They don't spend the extra time reading and seeking other opinions to make sure the story is accurate.
I have tried to do the research. I get some interesting results. It appears that the State of Indiana's discrimination laws does not include sexual orientation. Aha! The loophole! Well, no. Municipalities throughout Indiana have their own discrimination laws that do include sexual orientation. I looked to see if the City of Indianapolis did and believe they do. Makes me wonder why the mayor of the city has not pointed that out. Same with the NCAA.
I still think that nothing is going to happen in Indiana. There were no reported incidents of anyone being refused a service because of their sexual orientation before the new law. I don't see why there will suddenly be cases after the law. People don't suddenly find religion to thwart their businesses. Let me also add that I couldn't find any state case where RFRA law was used as a defense in the 19 other states that have these laws. I saw a Chicago Tribune article that mentioned when Illinois passed their law (no outrage when that happened. Is it because it is a Democratic held state?) that they expected a flurry of lawsuits. That never happened. In fact, nothing has happened since. Again, that is why I think it is a moot point.
One could ask why the law if it wasn't happening. Good question. Answer- I don't know. I am not one to find a solution for a problem that doesn't exist.
But taking a broader look, why would any business suddenly discriminate against their clientele simply because this law says they can? It is illogical. Yes, it is possible but not likely.
Likewise, why would anyone want to do business with someone if they don't want to do business with them? Profitable business is best when two parties come to a mutual agreement based on respect for each other. That respect include valuing the person for who they are. That includes their sexual orientation and/or religious beliefs. Don't like them? Take your business elsewhere. You will both be happy. And what do you have to gain by FORCING someone to do business with you?
(Random thought: Force someone to provide the service only if the other party goes to the religious services that are being cited for the refusal. For example, if a bakery cites religion as reason to not bake a wedding cake for a same sex marriage, have the engaged couple go to their church for the duration of business relationship. Same with the baker. They provide the cake and spend time with the couple. Just a thought).
Hopefully things in Indiana will continue as they have been. There has been the mutual respect their business climate. I don't think this law will change anything. I just wish some of the shrieking would die down and people- yes you Twitter people and Salesforce and Yelp! CEOs- would see that the residents of Indiana weren't discriminating before the law, and it is doubtful they suddenly will after the law.
Oh yeah that reminds me. I think the CEO of Salesforce is the biggest buffoon in this whole uproar. You may praise him for taking a stand but what he has done is more damaging to the company and his employees. Not to mention very hypocritical. But that is a different post.