Law prof: Indiana RFRA ‘fix’ increases peril to religious freedom

Law prof: Indiana RFRA ‘fix’ increases peril to religious freedom

According to law professor Mark Rienzi, the new fix will allow the state to prosecute Christians criminally for denying gay weddings their professional affirmation.

Rienzi, of the Becket Fund and Catholic University School of Law and who was lead attorney in the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case that upheld a claim under the federal religious freedom law, said this would “criminalize religious objectors.”

The “fix” maintains the religious liberty law in Indiana but says Christian business cannot use the law in declining to endorse a same-sex wedding. Christian business owners — florists, bakers, caterers and others — will now be forced to provide service for religious ceremonies that go against their “deeply held religious beliefs.” But the fix also says the law cannot establish a defense against not just civil actions but also “criminal prosecution.”

The “fix” carves our exemptions but only for churches, minsters, and overtly religious organizations — not for Christians who run for-profit businesses. …

Marriage expert Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation said, “…the proposed fix amounts to nothing less than a wholesale repel of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act with respect to those who need religious liberty protections the most.”

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