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Tags: Brad Miner | Mike Pence | Indiana | religious freedom

Catholic Scholar: Pence Caved to Gay Lobby on Religious Rights Law

By    |   Tuesday, 31 March 2015 04:09 PM EDT

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence made a political mistake and embarrassed himself by promising to amend his state's religious freedom law in order to defuse overblown charges that it sanctions anti-gay discrimination, Catholic scholar Brad Miner told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

"Gov. Pence did himself no favors today by bowing to pressure from the left and from the gay lobby," Miner, senior editor of The Catholic Thing, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner. "Because those are people who are never going to support him if he decided to run for president, and he lost a lot of people in the middle group."

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Pence is under fire for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) he signed into law this month, with critics calling the measure bigoted and businesses canceling events in Indiana, and Pence alternating between defiance and promises of a rewrite.

The law says a person's right to religious expression takes precedence in disputes unless there is a "compelling governmental interest" that trumps religious considerations and cannot be achieved any other way.

Indiana's RFRA resembles laws on the books in 19 other states, as well as a federal measure passed in 1993 that a Christian-owned business, Hobby Lobby, used successfully in 2014 to block the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage mandate.

Miner said that in trying to quell the furor in Indiana, Pence "went farther than needed to."

"If what he intended to do is defend the law, he should have defended the law — and it's defensible," said Miner, a senior fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute.

He cited "the now-classic example of a baker … who is approached by a homosexual couple to provide a cake with two marzipan grooms on it."

The Indiana law lets the baker have his day in court, where he can argue that he has a religious objection to celebrating same-sex marriage and that compelling him to bake the two-groom cake would require him to violate his conscience, said Miner.

"We're talking here not about the opportunity — and Pence emphasized this — for some discrimination across the board against gay and lesbian, whatever, people," he said. "If a baker is open for business and if in fact a couple of gay or lesbian couples come in and they want to buy donuts, he's going to sell them donuts. There's no reason to object about that.

"What the law gives that individual an opportunity to do is compare his religious beliefs against requests made of him," said Miner.

"There are people in this country who, legitimately, because of thousands of years of religious tradition, believe that same-sex marriage simply cannot be supported," he said. "And yet now we're saying that they must. Where is the freedom given to those people to express their constitutional rights?"

Pence is now backing clarifying language that "essentially negates what the law was intended to do in the first place," said Miner. "So this is a terrible embarrassment for Mike Pence, for the legislators in Indiana, and for anybody who thinks that religious freedom really means something."

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Newsmax-Tv
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence made a political mistake and embarrassed himself by promising to amend his state's religious freedom law in order to defuse overblown charges that it sanctions anti-gay discrimination, Catholic scholar Brad Miner told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.
Brad Miner, Mike Pence, Indiana, religious freedom
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2015-09-31
Tuesday, 31 March 2015 04:09 PM
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