Health Care In America
Featured Series: Health Care In America
Millions of people enrolled in President Barack Obama's signature Affordable Care Act. But the future of that health care legislation under President Donald Trump and a Republican-led Congress...

Same-Sex Marriage Opponents Turn To Religious Freedom Bills

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has said he will sign recently passed legislation in that state that would let people deny service to same-sex couples.
SMS
Same-Sex Marriage Opponents Turn To Religious Freedom Bills

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma said, "Roll call shows 63 ayes, 31 nos; the bill has passed."

On Monday, the Indiana House of Representatives voted in favor of Senate Bill 101, also known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

That bill applies the religious freedoms ensured in the establishment clause to entities like corporations and companies. But critics argue all the bill really does is give a legal defense to business owners who want to discriminate against same-sex couples. (Video via WISH)

That's been enough to attract international coverage from outlets like the BBC, and similar laws have made headlines in the past. 

Those laws have been popping up more and more, primarily in conservative states, sparked by incidents like bakeries refusing to make cakes for same-sex couples. (Video via CBS)

And as more states have legalized gay marriage through the judiciary, opponents of gay marriage are pushing back through religious freedom laws. 

A writer for The Washington Post argued, "Legislators are advancing laws that would, intentionally or not, ensure that gay people can be refused service, fired or evicted simply for being gay."

Indiana state Rep. Scott Pelath said: "It's fundamentally unfair. We know what we're doing here; we're singling out a group of our friends and neighbors. ... Maybe Rep. Wesco or someone here can just offer a resolution, and it can say, 'I am uncomfortable with a certain group of my fellow citizens.'"

In Indiana, the law has jeopardized the future of Gen Con — a tabletop gaming convention that's estimated to bring some $50 million in economic impact to Indianapolis. The organizers have threatened to relocate should the bill become law. (Video via Fantasy Flight Games)

Indiana Rep. Timothy Wesco sponsored the bill in the House and argues 30 other states have already passed similar legislation without incidents of discrimination. (Video via Office of Rep. Timothy Wesco)

Legal scholars are divided over whether the law would actually change anything, with some arguing it's more sweeping than legislation in other states.

The bill got final approval from the state Senate on Tuesday, but it's not clear when Gov. Mike Pence will sign the bill, which he pledged to do as soon as it reached his desk. (Video via WRTV)