Jan 15, 2019 | Updated: 01:26 PM EST

Indiana Religious Freedom Law: State Under Fire From All Sides, But Is the Criticism Justified?

Mar 31, 2015 11:50 AM EDT


The state of Indiana has been under heavy fire over the recent decision to enact a religious freedom law. Opponents of the new law claim that it will empower businesses, allowing them to discriminate against special interest groups, such as the lesbian and gay community. Indiana leaders have assured the public that the law will not allow for such discrimination, but the assurances of the governor and other to legislators seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

Celebrities, such as Ashton Kutcher and George Takei have taken to social media to express their outrage at the new law. According to FOX News, Takei wants a boycott of the entire state and Kutcher had some not so friendly words to say as well. In a Tweet that included a reference to Christians refusing to serve Jews in a business, Kutcher added to the white noise that is hitting the social media waves on the subject.

Aside from celebrities slamming the state legislation, the NCAA has raised some questions as well. The Final Four Basketball Championships are slated to be held in Indianapolis in April and the commission has expressed concerns over whether or not a possible boycott would hurt attendance.

Mike Emmert, President of the NCAA said,"We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees. We intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce."

Other figureheads around the country have raised their voices as well, including Seattle, Washington's mayor, Ed Murray. Murray, who is openly gay, stated "Seattleites know that discrimination has no place in our city." He followed this up with orders for the city departments to check their records and see if the city was doing any business with companies that were headquartered in Indiana.

The problem with the backlash against the state of Indiana is that it simply isn't justified. Even now legislators are working to clarify the language of the bill to ensure that it doesn't discriminate against anyone, and Indiana is not the only state to have such a bill signed into law. Arkansas, Wyoming, Texas, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and many other states all have laws similar to the one introduced in Indiana. Former President Bill Clinton signed a similar piece of federal legislation in 1993. According to NBC News Governor Pence supports clarifying the law so that it is explained better and unable to be used for discriminatory purposes.

The issue is not the fact that the law is controversial, as much as it is that certain interest groups wish to make it controversial. The law doesn't allow for discrimination against any interest group, it merely allows for the protection of individual beliefs and freedom.

It will be interesting to see what the governor of Indiana does in the near future. I for one hope he sticks to his guns and leaves the law in effect with no major changes made to it. It's about time that someone started saying "NO" to special interest groups who call "foul" every time something doesn't go their way.

What do you think about this controversial law? Should it be changed to make a group of people happy, or should it be left the way it is to protect the rights of millions of other people who choose to believe differently? Let us know in the comments below.

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