Indiana Right to Life, ACLU respond to religious freedom bill

Freedom Indiana: "The lawmakers didn't listen. The Governor didn't listen."

Freedom Indiana, the statewide organization that fought Senate Bill 101, the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act, issued the following statement today after Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law in a private ceremony with no media in attendance. The statement can be attributed to Freedom Indiana campaign manager Katie Blair.

"This is a sad day for Indiana. Over the past month, Hoosiers who want our state to be open to everyone filled the halls at the Statehouse. We wrote letters and delivered them in person. We called until they stopped answering the phones. We made it clear that this law will only be used to harm other Hoosiers, and that's not the Indiana way.

"The lawmakers didn't listen. The Governor didn't listen.

"They ignored huge job creators and small businesses. They ignored churches and other institutions of faith. They dismissed the idea that a license to discriminate would make us unappealing to visitors and potential residents.

"We're proud of everything that was done to sound the alarm on this dangerous bill, and we'll do everything we can to make it clear that our state is not the kind of backward place this law makes us look like. But the damage has been done, and it's a real shame."

Pro-Life Community Expresses Gratitude to Pence for Signing Religious Freedom Bill
From Indiana Right to Life

Indiana Right to Life's President and CEO, Mike Fichter, issued the following statement after witnessing Gov. Mike Pence sign the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), SB 101, into law:

"Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. We are also thankful to the legislature for passing this bill by large margins in both chambers. This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.

"Religious freedom is increasingly under attack in our nation. We saw Hobby Lobby win its case against the federal government's Obamacare mandate to provide abortion-causing drugs because of a defense hinging on federal RFRA law.

"Indiana's new religious freedom law is modeled after federal law introduced by Democrat Chuck Schumer and signed by Democrat Bill Clinton in 1993. Nineteen other states have RFRA laws on their books. Indiana legislators are wise to ensure religious beliefs will get due consideration in court, should Hoosiers be forced to act against their faith. RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government."

ACLU of Indiana Statement on the Passage of Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act

The following statement may be attributed to American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana Executive Director Jane Henegar:

"The timing of this legislation is all important to understanding its intent: the bill was introduced as a backlash reaction to achieving marriage equality for same-sex couples in Indiana," said Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana executive director. "We are deeply disappointed that the governor and state lawmakers have been tone-deaf to the cries of legions of Hoosiers--including businesses, convention leaders, faith communities and more than 10,000 people who signed petitions against the bill--who say they don't want this harmful legislation to impair the reputation of our state and harm our ability to attract the best and brightest to Indiana."

"While on its face the law is constitutional, only time will tell the full consequences of the state RFRA. It poses harm to our reputation as a welcoming state that is open to everyone and it disrupts the balance that respects individuals' freedom of religion without jeopardizing others' freedom from discrimination. The ACLU will remain vigilant to the effects of SB 101 and we will continue to push lawmakers and the courts until all members of the LGBT community receive the Constitution's full protection from discrimination and unequal treatment. We have been fighting for the LGBT community for over seven decades. We will keep on fighting to end discrimination wherever we see it, for as long as it takes.

Lanane: Governor and Republicans should be ashamed of RFRA

Upon signage of Senate Bill 101 by the governor, Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) released the following statement:

“No matter how privately Governor Pence tries to put his stamp of approval on this terrible bill, the fact remains that he and the Republicans in the General Assembly who passed it, own this unnecessary and unwanted law and its consequences.

“Although not unexpected, it is still extremely disappointing that Governor Pence endorses this out-of-touch, discriminatory legislation.

“Not only is this law unnecessary, it unfortunately has already portrayed our state as intolerant, unfriendly, and backwards; things which I believe most Hoosiers reject.

“It can only hurt our state’s economy and our desire to be welcoming to every person.

“I’m disgusted that they made this a priority over everything else, fast-tracked the process, and then were too ashamed to sign this bill anywhere but behind closed doors.”