A lot of dust has been kicked up after Indiana passed a bill that would allow businesses to discriminate based on the owner’s religious beliefs. As the bill was written by Republicans it’s no surprise the bill was aimed at enabling business to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals (LGBT).
In response to this news Salesfore has cancelled all events in Indiana, Gen Con has threatened to pull out of the state, and more people than I care to count have said they will no longer do any business in Indiana. I feel that it’s necessary for me to point out something that seems to be getting missed. The bill in question was passed by a handful of suit-clad individuals in a marble building. Most of the state had no say in the matter. All they could do is sit idly by while their overlords passed the legislation. Some may claim that the people of Indiana should be held accountable because they voted in these overlords but I will point you to the state’s 2014 election turnout that notes only 30% of registered votes were stupid enough to show up to the polls [PDF]. So 70% of registered votes didn’t have anything to do with the current rulers getting elected.
The bottom line is that punishing everybody in a state for the actions of a handful of fuckwits is not an appropriate response. A far better response would be to create a database of businesses that choose to discriminate against LGBT individuals and boycott them specifically. It would also be appropriate to boycott the politicians themselves but that’s always appropriate because they’re a bunch of sick fuckers who rule us at the point of a gun.
For my libertarian friends that claim this legislation better allows business to freely choose who they will and will not do business with I will point you to the text of the bill. It has some wonderful weasel language:
(b) A governmental entity may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if the governmental entity demonstrates that application of the burden to the person:
(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
It seems to me that this bill gives the state the option of not prosecuting a business for discriminating based on the owner’s religious beliefs but keeps the door open if the state choose to prosecute. Namely if the state can claim prosecuting a business is in its interest and no other means of forwarding its interests would be less restrictive then it can prosecute. This would open the door for a lot of abuse. For example, the state could decide to prosecute a business owned by a Muslim under the guise of forwarding the state’s interest and having no less restrictive way of proceeding.
Opening the door for the state to pick and choose who it prosecutes is not the same as allowing a business to pick and choose who it does business with. One gives the state the power to decide how businesses can discriminate and the other doesn’t. This bill, based on my layman’s reading (shocker, for those who don’t know, I’m not a lawyer), is a case of the former and not the latter.