On Thursday, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed SB 101 into law, a bill that purportedly protects religious freedom, the Guardian reports.
The new law, known as the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, allows business owners to deny service to customers they object to. In this instance, it's the LGBT community.
Simply put, business owners who find same-sex couples offensive on the basis of their religion now have the legal right to turn them away.
This is nothing more than bigotry disguised under the banner of religious freedom. Some would argue it's simply a hyper-conservative and overzealous reaction to the fact that same-sex marriage was legalized in Indiana at the end of 2014.
Regardless of what motivated this law, it's fundamentally discriminatory.
This is precisely why Tim Cook, the openly gay CEO of Apple, is taking a stand against this new legislation. On Friday, he tweeted:
It appears many agree with Cook, and he's been commended for taking this public stance:
Some have even likened the new law to Jim Crow:
The NCAA has also expressed concern over these developments as the Final Four is being held in Indianapolis. Accordingly, Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player in history, tweeted directly at Gov. Pence:
Fortunately, it appears many business owners in Indiana will ignore this law and provide service to any and all customers, regardless of their background.
But it's incredibly disconcerting that it's 2015 and religion, which is already protected by the Constitution, is being used to further prejudice in American society.
Not to mention, similar legislation already exists in 19 other states. And on Friday, the Arkansas Senate passed its own discriminatory religious freedom law, which Gov. Asa Hutchinson will now have to consider:
This legislation could also impact other groups, granting businesses the right to discriminate against everyone from gays to Muslims.
All of this was largely made possible by the controversial Hobby Lobby decision last June, when the Supreme Court ruled that businesses could object to providing contraception to employees on the basis of religion.
Obviously this has opened up a whole new can of worms.
There are plenty of tolerant people among all faiths and creeds across the United States. The sad fact is that misguided zealots continue to sour the image of religion.
Religious freedom means that the law cannot dictate the character of your faith or the way in which you worship, as long as it does not bring harm to others. It does not imply religion should hold sway over legislation or the moral compass of this nation.
America is a secular country and was always meant to be.
Unfortunately, it seems that Gov. Pence and those who support this law desperately require a re-education in US history and the Constitution. They could also benefit from a little common sense and basic humanity.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Elite Daily.
Citations: Indianas Governor Signs Religious Freedom Bill (NPR), Indiana Governor Signs Anti Gay Religious Freedom Bill At Private Ceremony (Huffington Post), Indiana is not protecting religious freedom but outright zealotry (The Guardian ), NCAA concerned over Indiana law that allows biz to reject gays (CNN), How Hobby Lobby paved the way for Indianas religious freedom bill (The Washington Post)