Monday, March 30, 2015

Fox News' Bret Baier Debunks Indiana's "Religious Freedom" Law


When even Fox News anchors can see a law doesn't work, you know the jig is up.

Bret Baier, appearing on Happening Now today, told host Eric Shawn that the law is NOT like the federal version, and that it will "have to be tweaked, if not changed."

Check this transcript from the segment:

ERIC SHAWN: You know, the law was intended to protect personal religious liberties against government overreach and intrusion. So what happened?

BAIER: Well, Indiana's law is written a little differently. It is more broad. It is different than the federal law that it's close to, but different than, and also different than 19 other states and how the law is written. In specific terms, Indiana's law deals with a person who can claim religious persecution but that includes corporations, for profit entities and it could also be used as a defense in a civil suit that does not involve the government. That is broader than the other laws. This is where it's a little different in Indiana's case. You saw governor Mike Pence try to defend the law and say it's just like the 1993 federal law where it's just like 19 other states, but as you look in the fine print, it's not really, and it may be something that Indiana deals with in specifics to line up with the others.

[snip]

SHAWN: Obviously, it had good intentions. What do you think happened to make it kind of go off the rails this way?

BAIER: Well, how it was structured, Eric. And I think that, you know, there may be good intentions behind it but how it's being interpreted is being a little bit more forward leaning than any other Religious Freedom Restoration Act on the books. What this does politically, obviously Mike Pence has been talked about as a governor thinking about a 2016 run. We don't know if he's going to do it or not. But that interview with Stephanopoulos over the weekend was obviously not a great back and forth in defense of this law that likely is going to have to be at least tweaked, if not changed. [emphasis added]

Further discussions about SB101 continue to circle back to the federal law with conservative Hoosier lawmakers saying their law is "exactly" like.

But as Bret Baier and many others can now attest to upon closer evaluation, there is a major difference between Indiana's version of the law and the federal government's version.

From Media Matters:

Indiana's RFRA is categorically different from other "religious freedom" laws, because it includes for-profit businesses under its definition of "persons" capable of religious expression.

The Indiana law also allows private individuals and businesses to claim a religious exemption in court "regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding."

Those differences -- which the ACLU has called "virtually without precedent" -- expand the scope of Indiana's RFRA and provide a legal defense for businesses and individuals who refuse service to LGBT residents.

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