• David

    The people who passed the law believe it will allow you to discriminate against gay people in public services. That’s how they sold it. If there is a misunderstanding about the impact of the law, it’s thanks to those who advocated for it.

    • Seth Miller

      Hi David, thanks for your response. I’ve just posted another blog in response to similar comments that have been submitted.

      The main point is that it doesn’t matter how a law is sold, what matters is what actually happens regarding the law. The most famous example is the Affordable Care Act. The law was sold as, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” And although that may or may not have been the original intent, the reality is quite different for millions of Americans. The same applies to Indiana’s RFRA. They can pass it with a certain intent, but it does not mean that intent will hold up in court or future reality. For a more detailed response, you can read it here if you like:

      http://sethdavidmiller.com/2015/03/28/a-response-to-comments-about-my-indianas-religious-freedom-law-post/

      • Terry W. Lake

        This is quite misleading… Millions of Americans did not have to change doctors.. Thousands… But not Millions… Every single friend I have asked… and I have asked… none had insurance issues that forced them to change their doctors… You say Millions of Americans? Do you mean the millions the Emergency Room doctors and was able to obtain regular physicians?

        • sethmiller90@gmail.com

          Hi Terry, not trying to mislead, but we must know completely different people. The law has very negatively impacted many of my own friends and family, including my wife’s company before she was offered a full-time position. It may be an inconvenient truth, but millions of Americans have lost the health insurance they had and wanted to keep, and millions more are estimated to lose it this year as well when the full law goes into complete effect.

        • Seth Miller

          Perhaps we know different people Terry, but that quite the opposite is true for my friends and family whom I have talked to, including my wife until she was fortunate to get a full-time position. I definitely mean actual millions. In addition to the several million who have already been forced out of their plans in the past two years, the CBO now estimates that as of 2015, another ten million are scheduled to lose their insurance this year when the law goes into full effect.

          http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-obama-care/012715-736559-cbo-says-obamacare-will-push-10-million-of-employer-plans.htm

        • Bright74

          No, he is right….. millions are not able to use their doctors….. We have proof of that …..and millions had their insurance canceled due to Obama Care…

          • Terry W. Lake

            I apologize, I was not quite up to date, however, I have had no continuum of care under the past health care system, and was booted and refused care over and over because of job changes, pre existing conditions, and stood in church basements begging volunteer doctors for treatments myself. Changing a plan is not exactly losing your insurance. One company I worked for only three years, changed it plan 4 times in just under three years and was then in effect forcing me to change my plan and doctors repeatedly…. And we had one in six not insured … Instead of a constant barrage of repeals why was not the Republicans improving this bill? I thought that was how our legislature was supposed to work.

          • Bright74

            Sorry what you have been through, but we had perfectly GREAT health insurance that was affordable and included dental and eye. Once Obama care was approved, We were canceled. We no longer have affordable health insurance and we no longer have eye or dental….And Millions more have gone through what we have gone through…..

          • rrgrqr
        • Wendi Meriwether

          That’s the opposite of my experience many of my friends and family were forced to change their doctor and go to one many miles away instead of one in their own town and many were even with the Supposed assistance …were still going to be paying and ungodly amout monthly $1200-1500 per month for a family of four, and the plans were crappy to choose from and I know this because I have been a health insurance agent for 10 years and I know all about health plans . So many refused to take it and are now having to take the penalty, this was just another government scheme to get hard working taxpayers money because now their refunds are gone ie. Less money in their pockets and they Still do not have affordable healthcare. Because since they work and don’t lay around on welfare they don’t qualify for Medicaid either. I spoke to a man in the community here yesterday in my office who told me his sister had a horrible time finding any doctors who would accept it here now and so she dropped the plan. They need to over haul this BAD.

      • Mark Kinnaman

        Hey seth miller, you do know if you changed jobs and got a different insurance policy from your new employer, you had to go to their doctors and not the ones you were with at the old job, get a clue. Its that way everytime you changed insurance policy’s and employers.

        • Seth Miller

          Hi Mark, I’m not talking about changing employers. I’m talking about people that are forced out of plans that they currently have and wish to keep. In addition to the several million who have already been forced out of their plans in the past two years, the CBO now estimates that as of 2015, another ten million are scheduled to lose their insurance this year when the law goes into full effect.

          http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-obama-care/012715-736559-cbo-says-obamacare-will-push-10-million-of-employer-plans.htm

          • Bright74

            It is sad, how so many, have no idea what has really happened to Americans, with this Obama Care that no one knew what was in it….

          • David Cary

            You do realize that it’s the corporate owners who are playing all the insurance games right? They are spending quite a penny right now changing insurance carriers and canceling just to pay the fee so Americans have to suffer and point the blame to obamacare and hopefully get it repealed because they simply don’t want the bottom and middle workers thinking they can actually make changes like this to their profits.

            Your assertion that this is similar to obamacare is horrible. Also your assertion that family is under attack and has been for 30 years is completely incorrect to. I mean you realize that someone else’s family is of no concern to you right. It doesn’t affect you if it did why aren’t their anti divorce laws that affect millions? If your religious beliefs are so strong against gays why aren’t we trying to reestablish sodomy laws instead of simply ban marriages? If marriage has always been one thing why did we need to change polygamy laws because according to everyone it’s ALWAYS been just 1 male and female even though that’s false.

            Family is not under attack you are spreading the same hate that advocate against.

            One person’s marriage doesn’t affect another’s. Are atheists allowed to marry? Because isn’t that going against the foundation that God is suppose to be part of every marriage. Also why not make laws that marriages have to involve creation? Because that’s what the idea is all about according to the bible.

            I’ve never seen or heard of someone’s divorce in Florida affecting someone’s marriage in Maine. Unless those two are related and it affects personally.

            I will say you were correct when you talked about the divide of extremists in the country but I think that’s from something else really.

          • Seth Miller

            I guess you missed the part where I didn’t say the family is under attack, President Bill Clinton did in 1993 as he signed the law.

  • Mark Tacosik

    Seth I have read quite a lot over the past 72 hours regarding the RFRA. You seemed to have done your homework and are a voice of reason in the midst of pure spin and lies. Thank you for your rational, educated voice.

    I am a small business owner currently running two businesses in Indiana. I have currently stopped trying to rationalize things to the irrational. No one seems to want to truly educate themselves on the issue.

    • Seth Miller

      Thank you for your comment Mark. I wish you all the best with your businesses!

  • Llama Salaam

    Your map is wrong, Ohio has no form of RFRA, the religious right tried to pass it 2 years ago but OH has a more balanced electorate so it failed. The Indiana law is different than Illinois’ and many of the others that are based on the Federal RFRA that was shot down in 97 by the SC. Unlike the federal RFRA, Indiana’s RFRA contains an extremely broad definition of “person” that includes organizations, corporations, or companies that are: “compelled or limited by a system of religious belief held by an individual or the individuals; who have control and substantial ownership of the entity, regardless of whether the entity is organized and operated for profit or nonprofit purposes.”

    • sethmiller90@gmail.com

      If you read the map more closely, you would see that it states Ohio does not have a state RFRA law, but it is one of the states that has heightened religious protections based off of court ruling. I’ve posted a link about the specific court case below.

      I’ve also addressed your person comment in the post, and whether folks like it or not, it lines up with the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Hobby Lobby last summer.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/01/politics/01scotus.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    • Chris L. Garner

      Reread the legend to the map. It clearly states that Ohio has a “RFRA-like protection provided by a state court decision.” And the added language broadening the description of an individual is probably a response to the SCOTUS holding that Hobby Lobby is an individual. It still doesn’t change the basic structure of the “substantial burden of proof” placed on the religious individual.

    • Seth Miller

      Chris is correct. The misread the legend of the map. Ohio doesn’t have a state law, but court protections. I believe this is the Supreme Court case the map is referencing:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/01/politics/01scotus.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

      • jaydeflix

        Speaking of the map, what’s the source of it? I can’t find it on either EPPC’s main site, or on the ARF site.

  • Confused

    I think I’m still misunderstanding. So even though it is not an act against gay rights, if someone exercises their religious freedom by not serving a gay person (first of all, is this even allowed?), then the customer sues, does the server who refused service have a leg to stand on because he/she is the defendant – defending rights of religion?

    • sethmiller90@gmail.com

      The defendant could try to discriminate based upon the law, and the law now reinforces the defendant’s right to defend themselves in court. But based off of literally every ruling thus far involving gay rights, as the law professor quote demonstrated above, the courts will still rule against the defendant. Whether this could change in the future remains to be seen, but in the past 22 years of RFRA legislation, the defendant has never won in a discrimination case. The law only guarantees their right to defend themselves in court, but has zero guarantee that they will ever win.

    • Debby

      no

    • Seth Miller

      The defendant could try to discriminate based upon the law, and the law now reinforces the defendant’s right to defend themselves in court. But based off of literally every ruling thus far involving gay rights, as the law professor quote demonstrated above, the courts will still rule against the defendant. Whether this could change in the future remains to be seen, but in the past 22 years of RFRA legislation, the defendant has never won in a discrimination case. The law only guarantees their right to defend themselves in court, but has zero guarantee that they will ever win.

  • Terry W. Lake

    I guess I was unable to understand a law, and it allowing people to refuse service based on sexuality, and Governor Pence was unable to give a direct answer when in interview, he was clearly and definitively asked 8 times in interview this morning if the law would allow discrimination against Gays, and would not answer a simple yes or no. So it leaves much speculation, unlike Illionois, who has LGBT protection laws, and civil unions, Indiana was not willing to provide same set unions until Federal law ordered them , or LGBT protection that Governor Mike Pence advises it is not nor will be on his agenda. Amazing they had time for a law like that is dividing further… Clinton was a true diplomat, give and take, he got don’t ask don’t tell and he gave religious bigotry rights.

  • Konnor Cook

    I’ll tell you what the difference is. A GOP Member signed it.

  • JRRamsland

    As a Christian and a politically moderate civil rights lawyer who has lived through the whole happening in Indiana, I’m happy to share with you a few thoughts:

    What is most bothersome to me isn’t the text itself (although it’s contextually different from other states given the existence / non-existence of other remedial statutes), but the surrounding timeline and narrative. In addition to being superfluous, the legislation seems to be a barely veiled backlash to a single incident (perhaps two or three), for which the market has already adjusted itself to create a solution. Legislation in reaction to a single incident is rarely valuable. Legislation that doesn’t solve an existing problem is rarely valuable. Having some background with the Indiana Supreme Court, I have little doubt a challenge would have followed the now-codified test. So it appears to me to be little more than grandstanding.

    Those are just a few of the reasons that the law bothers me from a political and legal perspective.

    From a Christian perspective, I wish that folks would be more concerned with serving than with entrenching their own “rights.”

  • Mark Kinnaman

    I do boycott all those states for the same reason I am boycotting my home state of Indiana because of the Christian intolerence laws . For a group of people so scared of Sharia law of the Muslims,they sure don’t hesitate to do the same thing. The govenors refusal to ever answer the question if it would be legal for a business to turn down a gay couple because of their religion 4 times, that told the whole world what this law was all about since it was written by 3 anti- gay leaders in the state. Was asked 4 times was it yes or no, and the governor would go off on completely different tangents,nothing close to what the questuon was asking and tried to make sure he wasnt askedhat question. He had to be asked it 4 times and 4 times he talked about the media instead of saying yes or no. If he would only answer the question he would never have to hear it again. He’s upset thats all the media wants to know, well, answer the question and the media will know and never ask again. Tells you right there, its completely legal for Christians to discriminate against homosexuals in the name of religion. I would want to see all these Christians faces if Armegeddon was a true myth when everyone around them dies and goes to heaven and they are the ones left going to die in the fires, the earthquakes, the meteor storms and they are the ones going straight to hell.

  • Very good breakdown of the topic, thank you!

  • Jim

    They compare little snippets of different laws, and we are supposed to say, “Oh wow they are the same!”, the only trouble is I’ve read the whole Bill, now law, as well as the proposed amendments, and it’s as much about what is left out of Indiana’s law as what they put into it. The other states have State laws protecting certain peoples, that Indiana don’t. There where amendments proposed that would have made sure this law couldn’t be used for discriminatory purposes, but those amendments where denied. By leaving out those amendments They proved what the law was for, and even now as the Governor says he’s looking into fixing this law, he says he won’t approve any amended law that includes any wording that would protect the LGBT community, so what does that say for his intent? Yet we are being reactionary!

  • Marius Bancila

    So, when a law to protect non-religious Americans?

  • whatever

    “Especially since the Bible claims that we are all created equal.” I’m not sure it does. That’s the Declaration of Independence. We’re all made for a unique purpose.

  • Jason Michael

    Thanks for the information Seth, but I think you assume too much good about the motives of the people who passed this law and perhaps aren’t aware of some of the details in this legislation. Simply put, not only did many who pushed for this law say outright that they were trying to allow for-profit businesses to discriminate against gay people, they even put language in the law that is quite different from the Federal RFRA in what seems to be an effort to further their goal. In your article here, you only quoted the parts of the Federal RFRA that are similar to Indania’s. However, there are parts that are quite different.

    First, the Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.” The federal RFRA doesn’t contain such language, and some States’ RFRA’s even explicitly exclude for-profit businesses from the protection. Second, the Indiana statute explicitly says these business’s “free exercise” rights under the RFRA can be used as a defense in a private lawsuit by another person. Other states only allow the RFRA to be used as a defense against the government.

    Why does this matter? Well, judging from the build-up talk of those who pushed for the law, it seems to have been impelled by a panic over a New Mexico court case where a same-sex couple sued a professional photography studio that refused to photograph the couple’s wedding. New Mexico law bars discrimination in “public accommodations” on the basis of sexual orientation. The studio said that New Mexico’s RFRA nonetheless barred the suit; but the state’s Supreme Court held that the RFRA did not apply “because the government is not a party.”

    In other words, this law was designed to provide such photography studios (or other businesses who actively hate individuals based on their partners’ sex) a defense where New Mexico said their actions were indefensible. Of all the state “religious freedom” laws I have read, this new statute hints most strongly that it is meant to be used as a means of excluding gays and same-sex couples from accessing employment, housing, and public accommodations on the same terms as other people. Hopefully it won’t be used that way, but it certainly seems to have been designed to give the self-righteous homophobes a chance to use it that way.

  • clarknt67

    That Federal and Indiana are identical laws is a debunked talking point. Though the have the same name there are substantial differences. Additionally Indiana has no non-discrimination protection for LGBT people and there is no Federal non-discrimination law covering LGBT people for anything including employment, public accommodation or housing. So the bill reinforces that discrimination is legal where it already IS perfectly legal.

  • Mightfo

    Aren’t there local laws(not statewide) in Indiana against religious discrimination? It seemed to me that it would be used to give businesses in those areas the ability to fight back against those local laws, and the statewide government would appoint people to represent the government who don’t actually care about those cases, so that the government would lose.

  • rrgrqr

    [T]he Indiana statute has two features the federal RFRA — and most state RFRAs — do not. First, the Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.” The federal RFRA doesn’t contain such language, and neither does any of the state RFRAs except South Carolina’s; in fact, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, explicitly exclude for-profit businesses from the protection of their RFRAs.

    […]

    What these words mean is, first, that the Indiana statute explicitly recognizes that a for-profit corporation has “free exercise” rights matching those of individuals or churches. A lot of legal thinkers thought that idea was outlandish until last year’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, in which the Court’s five conservatives interpreted the federal RFRA to give some corporate employers a religious veto over their employees’ statutory right to contraceptive coverage.

    Second, the Indiana statute explicitly makes a business’s “free exercise” right a defense against a private lawsuit by another person, rather than simply against actions brought by government. Why does this matter? Well, there’s a lot of evidence that the new wave of “religious freedom” legislation was impelled, at least in part, by a panic over a New Mexico state-court decision, Elane Photography v. Willock. In that case, a same-sex couple sued a professional photography studio that refused to photograph the couple’s wedding. New Mexico law bars discrimination in “public accommodations” on the basis of sexual orientation. The studio said that New Mexico’s RFRA nonetheless barred the suit; but the state’s Supreme Court held that the RFRA did not apply “because the government is not a party.”
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/03/what-makes-indianas-religious-freedom-law-different/388997/

  • rrgrqr

    1. Is this the same law as the federal RFRA and versions in other states?

    The answer is no, for a couple of reasons. First, there’s the intent. When the federal RFRA was passed in 1993, no one was talking about gay marriage, and it wasn’t about how private individuals deal with each other. The law was spurred most directly by a case called Employment Division v. Smith, which concerned whether two Native American workers could get unemployment insurance after they had been fired from their jobs for taking peyote in a religious ritual. It was that kind of private religious conduct that the debate revolved around at the time.

    But more importantly, the Indiana law is different from other laws in its specific provisions. It not only explicitly applies the law to for-profit businesses, it also states that individual can assert their religious beliefs “as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding, regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.” [emphasis added] The federal law, and most of the state laws, only concern instances where the government is forcing a person to do something or not do something; the Indiana law directly covers disputes between individuals.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/03/30/answering-five-questions-about-indianas-new-discrimination-law/

  • rrgrqr

    Indiana’s RFRA Applies To Disputes Between Private Citizens, Unlike All Other State RFRA Laws. ThinkProgress explained that Indiana’s law goes further than nearly any other state RFRA because it applies “explicitly” to disputes between private citizens:
    http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2015/03/30/3640374/big-lie-media-tells-indianas-new-religious-freedom-law/