How Illinois’ religious freedom law differs from Indiana’s

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Twenty states have so-called religious freedom laws on their books.  Iowa has no such law; and Illinois has laws to protect religious freedom as well as the rights of the LGBT community.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence defended his state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act after he signed it into law.   Pence addressed a room full of reporters Tuesday, March 31, 2015, defending the bill stating, "Had this law been about discrimination, I would've vetoed it."

Opponents of the law said it opens the door for businesses to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.

Illinois Representative Mike Smiddy (D), said Illinois also has a religious freedom law that prevents businesses from legally discriminating against its Illinois residents.

In 2005, the Illinois Human Rights Act was signed into law, making it one of 36 states to protect the LGBT community.

"I think the law that was signed by Indiana's Governor is flawed," Smiddy told News 8.

A local religious leader told News 8 the Indiana measure is a step backwards in the equal rights movement, and that although 20 other states have a similar law, he hopes Indiana's law is repealed.

"This is an attack on the rights that gay and lesbian people have gained over the last number of years," said Jay Wolin, reverend for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities.

"To do something that harms another human being is the antithesis of religion for me," he added.

At Wolin's church, signs hang from the walls welcoming gay, lesbian and bisexual people. The congregation welcomes everyone, Wolin said.

"I think it's important that people speak up and speak about it," Wolin continued, "We need to bring this up to an even larger discussion then just the Indiana law."

Indiana Democrats have called for repeal of the religious freedom law, stating it has had a negative impact on the state's image.

Governor Pence said he wants to see legislation on his desk by the end of the week that would "clarify" the law.

1 Comment

  • david

    Yet gays r pushing their beliefs on everyone else. Bullying to get what they want. Why would gays wanna go to church that doesn’t support them. Forcing people to be something they’re not. What’s right for one, doesn’t make it right for all.

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