State bills to protect religious freedom advance, alarming some

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  • Uncle_Fester Niskayuna, NY
    April 1, 2015 11:40 a.m.

    Do of course a defense is allowed without the state being a defendant, these rights we are discussing are individual rights, personal rights. Why would individuals not have that for merely exercising their First Amendment rights to the free practice of religion, an individual's free conscience and the right not to be forced to labor against their will or support things they oppose?

  • Uncle_Fester Niskayuna, NY
    April 1, 2015 11:34 a.m.

    If you walk into a bakery and want to buy one of the cakes on the display rack or as is in a catalogue, then this should be available to all. But you cannot require the baker to make a special cake for you unless they want to -even if they offer customization. Requiring specific labor of the vendor to be provided involuntarily is not OK. This applies equally to First Amendment rights especially in the area of forced speech. No citizen can be forced to articulate words which violate their religious beliefs even if gay couples want to get married, someone will do it, but individuals must have the right to decline. This isn't about going to a doctor or hospital or ordering food in a restaurant or going to a movie or staying in a hotel, those are public accommodations and standard products which should be available to all.

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 31, 2015 10:40 p.m.

    Ranch is exactly right with his comments. The other thing that posters here are missing is that the Indiana bill varies drastically from the Federal bill, and the other 16 states "religious rights" bills. It allows for an individuals religious rights, (and that includes a Corporation, business and government) to discriminate. That is NOT allowed in the Federal bill nor the other States bills.

    Indiana's bill is not the "same" as the others. It in fact allows individuals to discriminate randomly. That is the extremism that this bill showed. And they got caught with dirty hands. And people on both sides politically think it is dirty.

    Even the GOP dominated large businesses including NASCAR, Walmart, E.Lilley, and any others have called it terrible.

    It was a sneaky, dishonest bill written by religious extremists.

    That is not inclusion, that is open discrimination and it is truly evil and dishonest. The Governor should be ashamed. If he doesn't feel the shame, his state sure will!

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 31, 2015 8:08 p.m.

    The Deseret news need to publish valid points and counterpoints that we all have on this issue.

    The following I have posted several times and will continue to voice my opinion on this terrible issue:

    As Indiana is now seeing supporters of this type of hateful discrimination deserve to be brought into the light of day.

    This isn't about religious freedom. It is legal hatred codified into law.

    This will have consequences on the State of Indiana. The outrage is already been happening.

    The Constitution not only guarantees "freedom of religion", it's intent also clearly means "freedom from religion"

  • OneHumanFamily Provo, UT
    March 31, 2015 12:03 p.m.

    The Deuce,

    "If you want to include everyone at the table, you need to make room for all."

    I am pretty sure heterosexual Christians have been included at the table for quite some time now.

  • The Deuce Livermore, CA
    March 30, 2015 11:26 p.m.

    To: Ranch - Here, UT: You have completely missed the point of my comments. I do not wish to refuse service or any other right to anyone. I am merely making the statement that one has to recognize the needs of both sides of this debate. If you want to include everyone at the table, you need to make room for all. Inclusion is the first step to understanding. You really do need to get out of Utah and see the rest of the country. Not everyone thinks "us vs them" mentality out here.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    March 30, 2015 8:39 p.m.

    Many people want to claim the Indiana law is the same as the RFRA laws in other states and the Federal RFRA law.

    But there is one major difference (along with several not so major ones) - the Indiana law allows a claim or defense even when the state is not a party to the case. In other words, the Indiana law - unlike every other RFRA law - applies not only to lawsuits between individuals or entities and the government but also to lawsuits between individuals or between entities or between individuals and entities.

    Additionally, the Indiana law makes no exception for claims of discrimination or violation of civil rights laws - which most other RFRAs do. Even if it did, Indiana does not have non-discrimation laws covering gender identity or sexual orientation.

    This law gives causes of action and defenses in situations not covered by RFRAs in other states while offering less protection to those on the other side of the claims. This is why people are more upset about this one than they are about the others. It is all in the wording.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    March 30, 2015 2:32 p.m.

    @The Deuce;

    If you believe in refusing service to LGBT citizens, you have no "conscience" at all, much less a "right to conscience".

  • The Deuce Livermore, CA
    March 30, 2015 1:43 p.m.

    To: Ranch, Here, UT - You have lived in Utah too long to understand my comment that both sides of the argument are merely asking that their rights be recognized. No one is speaking of discrimination. Nor did I make any mention of a specific God or religion. This fight is long over and in the rear view mirror. The issue now is that all people simply want to have their rights of consciences and thought be recognized and not pushed over by the other side. Both sides want this. Your state of Utah has passed the same type of bill and I have not heard of anyone boycotting Utah. Next, if you start using quotes from the Bible and other books of scripture, make sure you include all of Christ's comments. Just to keep things in context.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    March 30, 2015 12:43 p.m.

    @jsf

    They did in fact protest the other 16 states. As to why the Indiana situation has gained more national attention (which of course will increase the size of protests) that's anyone's guess.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    March 30, 2015 11:58 a.m.

    Why did they not protest the other 16 states with such laws. Maybe everyone should boycott those states also. The fed law covers the nation, which group is boycotting the whole USA based on the federal law.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    March 30, 2015 11:57 a.m.

    @greatbam22;

    I've read the article; maybe you're the one who needs to open your eyes and take a good, long look at the reality of this bill and those like it.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    March 30, 2015 11:00 a.m.

    @ Ranch

    Nice job completely ignoring the quote. Maybe you should actually read the article.

  • OneHumanFamily Provo, UT
    March 30, 2015 8:36 a.m.

    If anyone thinks these bills are anything other than carefully worded anti-gay laws, watch the interview of the Indiana governor with George Stephanopoulos. The governor would not even answer the question if he thought it was ok to discriminate against gay people.

    To those that support these laws based on religion, please tell me where in the Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C, etc. it says that you should not serve those you perceive as sinners?

    These laws are nothing more than state-sanctioned discrimination. I think even Jim Crow would be proud.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    March 30, 2015 8:31 a.m.

    @The Deuce;

    The group that has continually been discriminated against is NOT the religious. The group that WANTS to discriminate against others IS the religious.

    You say "The pendulum has swung from one side back to the other and now we see that both sides are asking for their rights to be recognized.... You are now seeing the other side push back and say we have rights too.

    --- You do NOT have the right to discriminate against others in public places or businesses. If your religion/god requires that of you, then you're following the wrong god/religion.

    @greatbam22;

    "Sure seems like the LGBT activists don't like that fact that many religious people are standing up for their own beliefs."

    --- What it "sure seems like" is that relgious people are having a conniption fit that LGBT people are finally being recognized in this country as FULL CITIZENS with the rights that you''ve taken for granted your entire life. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you; if you don't live that commandment then you aren't a "good Christian" and your "religious" protestations are completely meaningless.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    March 30, 2015 8:16 a.m.

    If we won't let people discriminate based on race because of "deeply held religious beliefs" then why should we let people discriminate based on sexual orientation under the same claim? There are multiple cases from the 60's and 70's where several different groups and businesses claimed they should have the right to refuse service to African Americans because their religion told them so. A few of these cases made it to the U.S. Supreme Court and every time the court ruled that someones religious beliefs do not trump another individuals civil rights. So again, if we won't allow it over race why are we going to allow it over sexual orientation?

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    March 30, 2015 8:12 a.m.

    Am I the only one to read the articles before commenting?

    I find this quote pertinent and others within the article that suggest similar sentiments.

    "Douglas Laycock, a University of Virginia law professor who specializes in religious liberty issues and was involved in the drafting of the 1993 federal statute also disputed the "license to discriminate" claim against the bills. He said, "No one has ever won an exemption for discrimination under a state RFRA law.""

    The Sky is falling down! The Sky is falling down! Sure seems like it from the previous comments!

    Sure seems like the LGBT activists don't like that fact that many religious people are standing up for their own beliefs.

    Sounds like many of the comments others are presenting as fact are really false in nature or else the quoted VA law professor just doesn't know what he is talking about when he says "No one has EVER won an exemption for discrimination under a state RFRA law."

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 29, 2015 8:50 p.m.

    @The Deuce
    " It states that individual rights of opinion and conscience be protected and recognized. "

    Exactly. And rights of conscience include those people who want to deny gay people wedding cakes and floral arrangements thus this gives the right to discriminate for religious reasons. If there were non-discrimination law for gay people in public accomodations then this wouldn't negate that and you'd be right that this doesn't allow discrimination against gay people. However, there is no such protection in Indiana so this does allow it.

    What separates Indiana's RFRA from the others is that this one also applies to businesses whereas at least most of the others don't. You could say that since Indiana has no anti-discrimination protection for gay people anyway that businesses would already be able to discriminate even without this, which would be true, but it being encoded into the law would require more from a lawsuit than it being unwritten.

  • The Deuce Livermore, CA
    March 29, 2015 5:10 p.m.

    To: atl134, Salt Lake City, UT - This law in Indiana is based upon federal law by Pres. Clinton. What one side calls discrimination, the other side calls equal rights. The pendulum has swung from one side back to the other and now we see that both sides are asking for their rights to be recognized. This law does not authorize any discrimination. It states that individual rights of opinion and conscience be protected and recognized. It seems to me, this is what both sides of this argument have in common. It is a knee-jerk response for all of these companies and groups to start commenting about boycotts. You see that the one side uses all of their power to force others of a different opinion to recognize their rights. You are now seeing the other side push back and say we have rights too. We as a society are way past this type of reaction. We all live in a world where opinions differ as well as how we all approach a situation differently. If you want everyone to live the same way, I have a great piece of property for you next to ISIS in a warm climate.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 29, 2015 2:53 p.m.

    @The Deuce
    " This is not authorizing anyone to discriminate against any other group"

    Yes it is. Indiana has no public accommodations law protections regarding sexual orientation.

  • The Deuce Livermore, CA
    March 28, 2015 10:36 p.m.

    Before we all get upset, remember that the pendulum swings both ways. This is now the group that feels they have been discriminated against and they are now asking for the same respect. This is not authorizing anyone to discriminate against any other group. It is asking that all points of view, beliefs and opinions be respected in our society. We have come too far and fought too hard to get where we are. Simply make room at the table for all.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    March 28, 2015 2:54 p.m.

    @ Hutterite: Don't forget the Christian groups that are opposed to this and boycotting Indiana - the repercussions are coming from all sides.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    March 28, 2015 12:39 p.m.

    What's happening to Indiana is what would've happened to Utah if we went the route Christensen proposed (HR 322).

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    March 28, 2015 10:00 a.m.

    Hutterite said, "And it could easily get worse because, given the opportunity, religion will attempt to curtail the rights of more than just gay people."

    I don't disagree, but it occurs to me that the changing cultural climate may keep this in check. Religions have to compete in the marketplace, too, and as the story on the survey of Millennials indicates, religions will likely repel young people even more if their actions come across as discriminatory or judgmental. And large business interests are typically uncomfortable with such laws, further eroding support.

    So while I think the fight against these laws should continue because of the potential for abuse, I wonder if this is the calculus that Gov. Pence made. "Yes, the loopholes are there, but how likely is it that they'll be acted upon knowing the blowback that will come? In the meantime I've just appeased the worries of a voting block that actually shows up on Election Day."

    The problem, of course, is that it can be difficult to get rid of bad law already on the books.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 28, 2015 8:52 a.m.

    The article didn't mention that it isn't just the despised ACLU who oppose the Indiana bill. It's also the business community, including associations and large businesses.
    Letting religion stand as an excuse for discrimination is deplorable. And it could easily get worse because, given the opportunity, religion will attempt to curtail the rights of more than just gay people.

  • TrueAmerican56 Corpus Christi, TX
    March 28, 2015 6:29 a.m.

    Discrimination is discrimination, these bills open the door to that, and they open the door to any and all discrimination, you just have to throw in that it is your religious belief. A public entity of any kind, store, housing or employment, can now use religious belief as an excuse. Want to separate from offering services, become a private membership only business, but if you are serving the public, you serve all the public.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    March 28, 2015 5:21 a.m.

    Supporters of RFRAs always claim it is not about discrimination - but the Georgia bill is dead in the water (it has been "tabled") because an amendment was added stating it is not an applicable to non-discrimation laws.

    And, if it not about discrimation, why are he supporting examples always examples of discrimination?