Report: Protections to Be Added to Controversial ‘Religious Freedom Restoration’ Bill

Republican lawmakers in Indiana have announced that amendments will be made to the controversial ‘Religious Freedom Restoration’ bill that was signed by Gov. Mike Pence last week. The new proposal would include changes to the bill that would ensure that members of the LGBT community are not discriminated against by local businesses. From The Indianapolis Star:

A draft circulated early Wednesday said that the new “religious freedom” law does not authorize a provider—including businesses or individuals—to refuse to offer or provide its services, facilities, goods, or public accommodation to any member of the public based on sexual orientation or gender identity, in addition to race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, or military service. The proposed language exempts churches or other nonprofit religious organizations—including affiliated schools—from the definition of “provider.”

Since it was first signed last week, the religious freedom bill has sparked a national controversy. Pence explained to CNN after he signed the bill that its goal was to offer legal protection to businesses “if a government is going to compel you to act in a way that violates your religious beliefs.” However, critics of the bill and comparable laws (18 other states have similar measures) say it effectively gives business owners the right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers based solely on their sexual orientation …

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