Editorial: Indiana casts shadow on national progress

North Wind Staff

Indiana is about to pay—literally—for its recently passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

The backlash to the RFRA, signed into law by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in March, will cost the state $2 million in reputation repairs. Indiana officials announced Monday, April 13 that they have hired the global public relations firm, Porter Novelli, to help rebuild the state’s image after the debacle.

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The North Wind condemns the Indiana government. We hope its PR reconstruction involves a total overturn of its bigoted bill.

A similar bill is currently being debated in the Michigan Senate. Fortunately, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has stated he will not sign the bill into law. It was reported that he “supports religious freedom” but “strongly opposes discrimination of any kind.”

Though same-sex marriage has not yet been legalized in the state of Michigan, at least Gov. Snyder isn’t taking steps backward in the progression toward marriage equality.

Currently, 37 states have legalized same-sex marriage, including Indiana, either through a court decision, the state legislature or popular vote. However, Indiana is the 20th state to sign into law an act that is modeled after the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed into law by former President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Laws like this open doors for stereotypes to be reinforced by letting business owners judge who they choose to serve. In 2015, it’s a shame to see states enacting laws that infringe on a portion of the population’s human rights.

After movements for equal rights regardless of race, ethnicity, sex or sexual orientation, any state looks archaic when it enacts laws allowing businesses to discriminate according to religious beliefs. The argument for human rights is simple, as long as one such right doesn’t infringe on someone else’s right, it’s fair.

Laws allowing business owners the freedom to discriminate against anyone violates the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

It is not a human right to infringe on others’ human rights.

It doesn’t matter if you are gay, straight, transgender, bisexual, questioning, intersex, asexual, male or female, the Constitution protects you. It also protects every person’s religious choice, but not the abuse of religious freedom.

The North Wind urges all courts to honor human rights, regardless of gender, orientation or creed. Just so long as that creed does not dehumanize large sections of the population. As the United States Supreme Court gets ready to rule on same-sex marriage in June, we hope they will honor the rights of some of the country’s most discriminated-against populations.