Thursday, February 26, 2015

History Repeats in Indiana

Senator Scott Schneider
Indiana is going down a dangerous path, and we've seen it before.

The Indiana House is about ready to take up the so-called "religious liberty" bill that passed out of the Senate on a 40-10 vote on Tuesday.

It's a bill that is less about religious liberty and more about fear of those that you don't approve of.  That's what this is really about.

State Senator Scott Schneider claims that this bill is not a "sword" but instead a "shield" allowing people to protect themselves from doing business with those they disagree with by hiding behind the legislation.  Really, it's another affront to LGBT Hoosiers who are once again being told, "You may be able to marry like us, but you'll never be the same as us.  Just to be sure, we're going to try to codify that into law."

We can already see what kinds of trouble a bill like this can cause.  Just look to the north in Michigan where they don't have this type of bill.  Just a few days ago, news broke that a pediatrician refused to see the child of a lesbian couple.  Imagine an emergency room doctor or nurse refusing to treat a gay person or a gay person's family member because of their religious beliefs.

If Schneider's legislation seems familiar, it is.  It's very much the same exact type of legislation that was passed in the post-slavery South to justify treating those of a different skin color in a different manner.  I'm not comparing the plight of LGBT Americans to those of African-Americans, but I believe treating people differently because of something they cannot change about themselves is not right.  It is not only wrong, but it goes against the teachings of many religions.  It goes against the teachings of Jesus Christ.

What Scott Schneider and those of his ilk are afraid to say is that they have passed this legislation because they don't want to bridge the gap between fear and understanding.  It is just easier to discriminate.  That it's a lot more simple to try to stand behind this legislative shield than it is to go about the business of tolerance and understanding.

I beg the Indiana House to do the right thing and vote down this law.

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