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The anti-gay backlash backlash is here.
Jay Michaelson ~ The Daily Beast
In the wake of advances for LGBT equality, conservatives across the country have rallied to pass “religious freedom” bills that would allow people and businesses to discriminate if they have a religious justification for doing so.
The poster children of this campaign are religious wedding photographers and cake bakers. But the real impact is far more serious: huge corporations like Hobby Lobby denying benefits, services, and recognition to same-sex families; Catholic hospitals disallowing longtime, same-sex spouses to visit one another; huge university systems firing janitors, basketball coaches, and secretaries because they are gay.
State RFRAs are a backlash to same-sex marriage—but, legally speaking, they’re not about marriage, but discrimination law. Should businesses—florists, pharmacies, hospitals, bakeries—be able to say “No Gays Allowed”? This is the question Gov. Pence refused to answer five times on Sunday morning.
And unlike marriage, it is not a close one, in terms of public opinion. Yes, public approval of same-sex marriage has risen sharply, to around 55% today. But public approval of anti-discrimination laws is much higher, around 75 percent.
Indiana has come under fire for a bill signed Thursday by Gov. Mike Pence (R) that would allow businesses to refuse service for religious reasons. The NCAA has voiced its concern ahead of Final Four in Indianapolis next week, there are calls to boycott the state, and Miley Cyrus has even weighed in, calling Pence a name that we can't reprint on this family Web site in an Instagram post.
But Indiana is actually soon to be just one of 20 states with a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Ashleigh Banfield is a Canadian-American journalist who works for CNN and hosts the legal news program Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield