At just three pages, the Indiana RFRA doesn’t take much effort to read. But it’s an effort, unfortunately, that too few people bothered to make. Instead, they’ve let the media control the narrative with wild distortions about what the law actually does. The federal version was so non-controversial that Al Gore said, “The fact is, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is something that all Americans can support.”
Two decades later, we shouldn’t be surprised that homosexual activists have seized on a narrow reading of the measure to spark outrage about the bill. But that doesn’t change the truth, which is that the implications of RFRA go well beyond marriage. In fact, in 22 years, these laws have never been used to “discriminate” against gays and lesbians. Believe it or not, the real beneficiaries, as the Washington Times explains, have been Muslims, Indians, and Sikhs.
University of Virginia Law Professor Douglas Laycock tried to dispel some of those myths with the history of the law. “So what kinds of cases are RFRAs really about?” he asked.
“They are about churches feeding the homeless; sometimes the city or the neighbors object. They are about Muslim women wearing scarves or veils. They are about Amish buggies. They are about Sabbath observers. They are about church bells… And usually, the government wins. These laws have been under-enforced, not over-enforced.”
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