You know the adage “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…”? Well when it comes to the State of Indiana the fools are those who truly thought the Legislature would protect the rights of all GLBT. Wednesday January 27, 2016 there will be yet more legislation introduced to discriminate against human rights in the name of religion. Make no mistake- it is not binary. It is not religious rights vs. GLBT rights. It is the bigotry of certain legislators and organizations that are making their doctrinal views not only law, but some sort of skewed moral compass.
The sad thing is I could simply cut and paste any of my blogs and OP-Eds from the past decade and it would still be relevant. THAT is how long my home state has been trying, and succeeding in discrimination. Though hundreds of faith leaders, myself included, have visited legislators, written letters, rallied, held prayer vigils, or testified in the General Assembly, it is to no avail as each year this bigotry and fear-mongering returns.
Last year RFRA was passed and then public outcry brought Indiana to the National Stage. Celebrities like George Takei and Wilco took to social media to Boycott Indiana, GenCon threatened to pull out of conventions, states banned travel to our state. Major corporations such as Lilly, Cummins, NBA and NCAA offered statements, even Disciples of Christ threatened to halt their conventions.
Then came the “fix”, and everyone disappeared. Conventions returned. Boycott off. Even some of the larger GLBT organizations claimed victory. Victory?? Seriously? The “RFRA fix” only applied if you lived in one of the Indiana’s eleven municipalities with a Human Rights Ordinance regarding sexual orientation. And the majority of Hoosiers do not live with a HRO.
More importantly and virtually nonexistent in the RFRA discussion is the discrimination of religious views on other aspects of life aside from sexual orientation. RFRA was passed on two prongs- GLBT human rights AND religious rights concerning the gamut of life. The RFRA fix didn’t touch on views of fertility, birth control, termination of pregnancy (for ANY reason- including ectopic pregnancies, rape, endangering the mother), vasectomy, vaccinations, end of life decisions..etc.
So here we are. In 2016. And new legislation is introduced. And it’s the same bigotry. The same binary thinking. That one’s religious views is equal to law. And it isn’t.
Respect religious views. Our constitution doesn’t allow to mandate religious views.
But it’s Indiana. And if you are one of those surprised to see these bills being debated again—where did you go? Have you not been paying attention?