Indiana Republicans, facing derision nationally and an economic boycott with wide-ranging impacts are now backpedalling like crazy. They claim they never intended for their new Religious Freedom Restoration Act to allow discrimination against the LGBT community and are now moving swiftly to “fix” their atrocious new law. You can read the text of their “fix”, which prohibits discrimination based on “basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service” HERE.
It’s all a pack of lies.
During debate on the bill, State Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane introduced an amendment that would have explicitly prohibited discriminating against gays and lesbians. Here’s the full text of his amendment:
I move that Senate Bill 101 be amended to read as follows:
- Page 1, line 5, after “1.” insert “(a)“.
- Page 1, between lines 9 and 10, begin a new paragraph and insert:
- “(b) This chapter does not apply to:
- (1) IC 22-9-1 (Indiana civil rights law); or
- (2) any state law or local ordinance that prohibits
- discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.“.
(Reference is to SB 101 as printed February 20, 2015.)
Pretty simple, right? It was defeated by a vote of 40-10. The only votes in favor of it were the ten Democrats in the Senate. So let’s not pretend that they didn’t intend to allow for discrimination against the LGBT community with this new law. They had the chance to set the record straight on that back in February and not one Republican did so. This “fix” of theirs is clearly an attempt to mitigate the vigorous and effective pushback they are getting from all over the country.
It’s an important reminder about why this sort of pushback, including a boycott, is so effective and important. Not only is it forcing Indiana Republicans to get it right, it prevented Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson from signing a similar bill in his state, sending it back to the state legislature to fix it BEFORE he signs it, not after the fact like is being done in Indiana.
It’s also important for Michigan where a RFRA bill is under consideration by our own legislature. The outcry over Indiana’s law surely has factored into Gov. Rick Snyder’s statement this morning that he “would veto RFRA legislation in Michigan if it is a standalone piece of legislation”:
“Given all the events that are happening in Indiana, I thought it would be good to clarify my position,” he said in an interview with the Free Press. “I would veto RFRA legislation in Michigan if it is a standalone piece of legislation.” […]
Snyder reiterated his belief that a RFRA bill should not pass without an accompanying bill that would expand the state’s Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing and hiring, to the LGBT community. He said he believes there needs to be two separate bills, not one RFRA bill that might include language that would prohibit discrimination against the LGBT community.
Senate Republican Mike Shirkey who introduced the RFRA bill isn’t backing down, however. He clearly has the Bigot Base to appease. “That’s the governor’s perogative, but I intend to give him that chance,” to veto the bill, he told the Detroit Free Press. “I’m not surprised, but I’m not deterred.”
Keep up the pressure nationally, folks. It’s making a difference and having an important impact.
[CC image credit: DonkeyHotey | Flickr]