Americans are torn by the flap over Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) — most don't want such a law in their state, although 20 states already have one, while a larger percentage want to ensure that businesses have a right to refuse customers if serving them would violate their deeply held religious convictions.
A new Rasmussen poll finds
that while 53 percent of Americans would not want RFRA legislation in their home state, 70 percent "still agree that a Christian wedding photographer who has deeply held religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage has the right to turn down working a job at such a wedding."
Meanwhile, despite concerns that such laws could lead to discrimination against gays and lesbians and are directed against same-sex marriages, 35 percent of those polled still would favor a law allowing businesses to refuse service to customers if serving those customers would violate their religious beliefs.
Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence recently signed into law a bill which "prohibits the government from 'substantially burdening' a citizen’s exercise of religion unless there is a 'compelling' government interest," PJ Media notes,
touching off a nationwide firestorm of protest that the law allows blatant discrimination against same-sex couples.
Arkansas has followed suit with a similar law, but the state's republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, sent the bill back to the Legislature for changes to make the state law mirror federal law before he would agree to sign it, CNN reports.
Showing the general population's split on the issue as displayed in the Rasmussen poll, Hutchinson told CNN, "The issue has become divisive because our nation remains split on how to balance the diversity of our culture with the traditions and firmly held religious convictions."
Pence, CNN noted, has sent the measure back to the Indiana Legislature to "fix" perceived discriminatory aspects of the law.
Only 19 percent told Rasmussen that Christian businessmen should not have the right to refuse customers when their request violates their religious beliefs.
Just 27 percent of those polled said they believe "gay rights groups and the media accurately portray religious freedom laws like the one in Indiana, while 51 percent disagree and think they make the laws sound more discriminatory than they really are," Rasmussen noted.
In the survey, the majority of Republicans, or 59 percent, favor having a RFRA in their state, while only 13 percent of Democrats and 37 percent of unaffiliated voters agreed.
However, when it comes to whether a Christian photographer should be able to refuse to turn down a job photographing a same-sex wedding, 56 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of unaffiliated voters said the photographer should be able to turn down such a customer "if it violates his religious beliefs," Rasmussen reported.
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