Oh, Indiana. Le sigh.
So here’s the thing.
I’ll start by addressing the aspects of this (overall terrible) bill that do make sense to me (don’t worry, there are very few).
I do not want the government to tell me how to conduct my private business. That is indeed a basic tenant of a free market, free speech, and a free people. For the government to essentially force its private citizens and private businesses to conduct themselves a certain way is not okay with me.
However, it is SO NOT OKAY to say “oh, please, by all means — discriminate away!” In effect, that is what this bill is saying and ensuring that all Hoosiers can (and should!) do.
We simply need no legislation on this topic.
Individuals who want to do business at a given company are already free to do so, or not. And businesses are already free to do business with a given individual, or not. That is our collective perogative in a free society.
Neither side needs to be coerced into action it otherwise would not have taken.
(Point of clarification: The unstated phrase in all these sentences is “by the government.” I would, in fact, like to coerce my fellow Christians to stop judging and discriminating. I just don’t want my government to do it, because it crosses so many lines, even if well-intentioned.)
The flip side of this law is bad too, so don’t hear me wishing it was written 180° the other way around. I don’t — just as I have the right to walk out of any establishment I no longer want to patronize, I should also have the right to end a business relationship with anyone, anytime, for any (or no) reason (barring contractual obligations, of course).
Therefore this bill basically continues to solidify institutional discrimination. Oh and gives “religion” a bad name. A well-deserved one of late, if you ask me.
Addendum. This is particularly frustrating for the maybe-just-right-of-center among us (or the libertarian-leaning, if you will). This, just like the gay marriage issue, is so unfairly polarizing that it’s hard to take a position on. You’re damned if you do (support it) and damned if you don’t. I don’t support the bill, but it’s not because of “gay rights” — it’s because I don’t want the government having the power to tell me what I can and cannot do.