Tags: Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | Indiana | LGBT | Freedom law | Gov. Mike Pence

Radio's Katz: Indiana Religious Freedom Law Uproar One-Sided

By    |   Monday, 30 Mar 2015 02:32 PM

The furor over Indiana's new religious freedom law is the product of a biased discussion that insists on portraying the measure as anti-gay, Indianapolis radio host Tony Katz told Ed Berliner of "MidPoint" on Newsmax TV on Monday.

"We're only hearing from one side," said Katz, referring to critics of the religious freedom law that Gov. Mike Pence signed last week — and defended it on Sunday in a heated exchange with ABC "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos.

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The law says a person's right to religious expression cannot be restricted by other state laws unless the state meets a two-part test: that there is a "compelling governmental interest" for the restriction that trumps religious considerations; and that there is no less burdensome way of achieving that end.

It generally mirrors similar state laws as well as the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the Hobby Lobby plaintiffs used in their Supreme Court win for an exemption from the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage mandate.

Katz said the Indiana law's critics favor a narrow conception of freedom and liberty that excludes religious conscience and obliges people "to go against their own moral code."

But earlier on Monday, a Democratic state legislator told "MidPoint" that supporters of the law are "very confused."

"Nothing in the law, or nothing that I'm aware of, will force anyone to bless anyone else," said Indianapolis lawyer and state Rep. Ed Delaney, who argued, for example, that an Indiana business owner who objects to gay marriage isn't sanctioning it by serving gay customers.

"They're confused between serving the public in a store and blessing somebody," said Delaney. "My customers in my law firm don't get a blessing. The people who go to restaurants don't get blessed; they get fed and served decently, and that's what we need to be doing in Indiana. And we will do that."

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Pence defended the law on Sunday to ABC News in the face of criticism and threats by several businesses to leave the state. He said Indiana is under an "avalanche of intolerance" and denied the law's purpose is to discriminate against the LGBT community.

"There's been shameless rhetoric about my state and about this law and about its intention," Pence told Stephanopoulos. "People are trying to make it about one particular issue, and now you're doing that as well."

Pence also said in another interview that he would support additional legislation to "clarify" that the new law does not target homosexuals.

Delaney said the state legislature might try to do more than just rewrite the new law.

"People expect two things in this life on the issue of discrimination: they expect acceptance from others and they expect legal protection," said Delaney. "Gov. Pence has said, basically, 'I don't accept you and I certainly won't give you any legal protection.'

"That's gotten me pretty darn upset," said Delaney, "and the legislature is going to have to take this situation over, which we can do. We can override his veto with a simple majority. We really don't need his help, which I don't think is forthcoming."

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The furor over Indiana's new religious freedom law is the product of a biased discussion that insists on portraying the measure as anti-gay, Indianapolis radio host Tony Katz told Ed Berliner of "MidPoint" on Newsmax TV Monday.
Indiana, LGBT, Freedom law, Gov. Mike Pence
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2015-32-30
Monday, 30 Mar 2015 02:32 PM
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