Thursday, March 26, 2015
Here is an op-ed of mine, which ran today in the South Bend Tribune, in which I try to respond to what I regard as some of the misconceptions (and, frankly, the misinformation) about RFRA-type laws (like the one that was signed into law by Gov. Pence, in Indiana, today.) In a nutshell:
In fact, the act is a moderate measure that tracks a well-established federal law and the laws of several dozen other states. Contrary to what some critics have suggested, it does not give anyone a “license to discriminate,” it would not undermine our important civil-rights commitments, and it would not impose excessive burdens on Indiana’s courts. . . .
The act’s standard is applied in many jurisdictions across the land and it has long enjoyed support from across the political spectrum. This standard is not new; we have plenty of evidence about how it works. We know that courts have not applied it to require excessive accommodations or exemptions from anti-discrimination laws and civil-rights protections. Fighting invidious public discrimination is, American courts agree, a public interest of the highest order. Contrary to the concern quoted in the recent Tribune piece, a business owner or medical professional who invoked the act as a “license” to engage in such discrimination would and should lose. The act creates a balancing test, not a blank check. . . .