Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act Excuses Discrimination


Rachel Laventure, Staff Writer

Recently, Indiana propositioned the Religious Restoration Act, a law that allows a person, a group of people or a business to refuse service on the grounds of religious belief. If they are brought to court under the grounds of discrimination, this law can be used as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding.

For example, if a person feels that providing a service such as driving a person in a taxi or having a certain group of people eat at their restaurant is against their religious beliefs, then they, the person or business, can refuse to offer service. As another example, if a woman enters a store with her wife, then the store owner can refuse to sell anything to them on the grounds that their religion does not accept homosexuality.

Almost immediately, the Religious Restoration Act was hit with major backlash from the LGBT+ community, outraged that a law that legalized discrimination due to religion might pass. Hundreds of articles surfaced, calling out Indiana for legalizing discrimination towards the LGBT+ community and more, demanding the law be thrown out.

According to the law, businesses do not have the right to refuse service due to a person’s race, color, religion, sexuality, national origin or disability. However when and if this law is enacted, these acts of discrimination are allowed if they go against the business or person’s religious beliefs.

The Religious Restoration Act does nothing but restore discrimination into our society, because it is a thinly veiled curtain that allows homophobia, misogyny and racism under the guise of religious belief. A person or group of people should not be discriminated against due to who they are or what they believe in, because it is not something they can change. It is dehumanizing to treat a person differently because of who they are, and it denies the value of the individual, as if they are less of a person because they do not conform to someone’s religious values.

A law like this, if it is put into effect, will reverse our progression as an accepting society. It will revert us back to the years where discrimination due to a person’s race, gender and sexual orientation was legal, a time that in our history books, was thought of as a monumental violation of human rights, a time we consider history.

However, if this law passes, this could be our future.

This law is a violation of human rights, a law that allows for people to be outcasted from society, all due to another’s personal religious beliefs. Another’s religious beliefs should not hinder their ability to provide goods or services, as to deny them would be discrimination. If this law is enacted, it will create a gateway to legalizing discrimination all over again.