Magazine article The Christian Century

Disciples Leaders Join Call for Changes to Indiana's Religious Freedom Law

Magazine article The Christian Century

Disciples Leaders Join Call for Changes to Indiana's Religious Freedom Law

Article excerpt

Leaders of the Indianapolis-based Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) spoke out against Indiana's religious freedom law, saying it could lead to discrimination against gays and others, and they voted to hold the denomination's biennial general assembly in another state. After the Indiana legislature revised the law to address the discrimination issue, Disciples leaders were reconsidering their stance.

Governor Mike Pence signed Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (which has the same name as a 1993 federal law) on March 26, seeing it as "raising the judicial standard that would be used when government action intrudes upon the religious liberty of Hoosiers," according to a statement April 2, the day he signed a "clarification bill."

In the days in between, the law had "become a subject of great misunderstanding and controversy," he wrote. "I called upon the Indiana General Assembly to clarify that this new judicial standard would not create a license to discriminate or to deny services to any individual as its critics have alleged."

Legislators amended the act to add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the existing list of unacceptable bases of discrimination, which include race and religion. While the amendment clarifies that the law does not authorize discrimination, the law does not establish gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people as a protected group statewide.

Most areas of Indiana do not have a law giving individuals legal recourse if they believe they have been discriminated against in services, housing, or employment because of sexual orientation or gender identity. …

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