Gov. Mike Pence to sign bill some say breeds discrimination - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Gov. Mike Pence to sign bill some say breeds discrimination

(PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/ Ben Katko) (PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/ Ben Katko)
Indiana (FOX19) - Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, is set to sign what's being called a "religious freedom bill” on Thursday.

The bill would bar any state laws that "substantially burden" the religious beliefs of an individual, business or religious institution.

Supporters said it's supposed to protect rights, but critics say it would make discrimination legal.

It hurts the state in every single way imaginable. They are protecting nothing, and instead, establishing a discriminatory law,” said Steve Newsome with the Human Rights Campaign.

The law is Indiana Senate bill 101, coined as "religious freedom restoration." It's now on its way to the desk of Governor Mike Pence who will sign it Thursday.

"Nobody in this general assembly is advocating a bill that would allow people to discriminate. Everybody wants the opportunity for people to practice the rights that they're supposed to have in this country,” said Jud McMillin (R), a representative in the Indiana House of Representatives.

To supporters, the legislation is aimed at protecting religious freedoms. Critics are especially concerned that this bill opens up the gay and lesbian communities to discrimination.

"If I decide to come to your restaurant, you can choose not to serve me. If I want to hire you as my wedding photographer, you can tell me no,” Newsome said.

The law would prevent the government from forcing anyone to provide services to things they don't agree with, for example, a same-sex wedding. Concerns are mounting that this legislation paints Indiana as “unwelcoming.”

"This really is a pathetic last ditch effort by extremist politicians in right-wing controlled states to prevent loving couples, and people from just being who they are,” Newsome told FOX19 NOW.

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