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Author Topic: Gen Con is threatening to leave Indiana over a religious "protection" law.  (Read 4104 times)

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Offline KujeTopic starter

For those of us who going to the RP convention, not sure if any of you knew this was happening today.

http://fox59.com/2015/03/24/religious-freedom-bill-passes-senate-now-awaits-gov-pences-signature/


Offline Lustful Bride

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People who use the right to freedom of religion to abuse others disgusts me...just thinking about it gets me seeing red. Especially when I think of all the places in the world where people suffer and die for their choices and these assholes abuse the freedom they have.

These bills disgust me and only serve to show me how idiotic our leadership is and how little they really care about us.

Offline Tairis

They're stuck for at least another five years, though, I believe. Their contract with the city runs through 2020. If they have something in the contract that would let them break it for this reason though that'd be hilarious.

Online Thesunmaid

http://i.imgur.com/UFhrD.jpg


This pretty much sums up my feelings on religion and the fact that in 2015 that a law like this can actually be passed...is painful.

Offline Lustful Bride

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http://i.imgur.com/UFhrD.jpg


*slightly offended but understands where you are coming from* I may not like your opinion but as is said, I would fight and die for your right to have it.  :-)

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« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 07:27:35 PM by Lustful Bride »

Offline Angiejuusan

I'm going to make a slightly odd analogy, but I think it works. First of all, I do not have the exact wording of the bill in front of me, if I did, I would be able to make a much more reasoned argument. So I will preface this by saying that I am only going by what the opponents of the bill are saying. If this bill is therefore passed, can someone explain to me how refusing service based on religious practices is any different from refusing service to someone just because they're black? Granted, I admit that religion is something you have some degree of control over and it's something you choose, but to a lot of people, religion is a deep-seated part of their identity and trying to choose to be something else would be akin to them trying to change their skin color. All I know is no matter what happens, this will end badly for all involved.

I do hope Gen Con suddenly popping up with "we have concerns" will be enough to make people go "OH SHIT!" and drop this like a hot potato.

Offline Cassandra LeMay

I'm going to make a slightly odd analogy, but I think it works. First of all, I do not have the exact wording of the bill in front of me, if I did, I would be able to make a much more reasoned argument.
The text can be found here: https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/senate/101#document-92bab197

I'll try to read through it, but this is far from being a field of law I am familiar with, so I doubt I'll be able to make much sense of it myself.

Offline consortium11

So I will preface this by saying that I am only going by what the opponents of the bill are saying. If this bill is therefore passed, can someone explain to me how refusing service based on religious practices is any different from refusing service to someone just because they're black?

You're getting the effect/intentions behind the bill confused.

In essence this bill is about the person offering a service being able to refuse that service because the application of it would conflict with their religious beliefs.

The civil rights statutes and the like are about the person offering a service not being able to refuse that service because the customer/patron is black.

Basically this bill is an attempt to avoid the civil rights acts and laws that mean someone can't discriminate against people; notably LGBT people.

It's probably worth bringing up an example of where an act like this might apply. In Northern Ireland there's been an ongoing case relating to a "gay wedding cake". In brief, a bakery was asked to create a cake which said "support gay marriage". Citing their religious beliefs they declined and have been taken to court by the Equality Commission because of it. I should note that it's not that the bakery refused to serve gay or LGBT people, they happily did so, but instead that they declined to create a cake with a message that they saw as running against their religious beliefs.

What the bill does is basically copy the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a federal act, into state law. The RFRA has been around for a while and one can see a fair amount of discussion on it in the thread here on the Hobby Lobby ruling.

RFRA works by preventing the government from "substantially burdening" someone's exercise of religion. Fining a company/individual for doing something which they believe is in-line with their religious practices clearly represented a burden (most likely a substantial one) and so runs the risk of falling foul of it. The clear worry is that members of certain religions (notably Christianity in the US) will cite their religious opposition to LGBT and then try to use this act as a defence if challenged. However, the act does include exemptions; if it is in furtherance of a compelling government interest and there is no less restrictive way of achieving that interest. On a federal level those exemptions have been used to deny claims relating to taxes (from a pacifist Mormon who objected to her taxes being used by the defence department) and university fees (from Christians who objected to their fees being spent to help support an abortion service).

State law is different from federal law and doesn't have to follow the same precedents but my gut tells me that this law isn't quite as draconian as people may fear. I think there is prima facie a compelling governmental interest in allowing people access to all services regardless of their sexuality and I struggle to think of a less restrictive way of achieving that then preventing people from discriminating on the basis of sexuality. As such I think that would fall firmly within the exceptions and any attempts to refuse service on the basis that a customer was LGBT wouldn't be able to use the RFRA as a defence. In addition, while the courts have been very, very hesitant about ruling on what constitutes exercise of religion or whether it is a reasonable belief, I think one may struggle to argue that refusing to serve LGBT people represents the reasonable exercise of a genuinely held religious belief; is it really exercising a religion to say that LGBT can't shop at your store? Somewhat ironically I think those who would argue it is could cite the various no-platforming and "shaming" initiatives by social justice advocates as evidence that serving or working with someone represents you supporting them and their lifestyle but I'm not convinced the court would support it.

More tricky are the examples such as the bakery one I mentioned above. In that case the bakery didn't refuse service on the basis of the customer's sexuality; as mentioned they're more than happy to serve LGBT people and if a cis-straight person had ordered the cake the same issue would have occurred. There the issue is whether a business should be required to create something with a message that goes against their religious beliefs. I suspect the RFRA would prevent that. Before we all leap into condemning it I think it's also worth considering what the opposite position could be. Should a bakery run and operated by Muslums be allowed to decline service when someone orders a cake saying "Muhammad was a paedo"/"Islam = Terrorism" or which has a representation of Muhammed on it? Should a Jewish bakery be forced to accept an order for a cake which says "The Jews Murdered Jesus!"? Should an atheist web designer be required to create a website saying that God created the world in six days? In a direct contrast to this, should a company owned by LGBT people be forced to create a product calling gay marriage an abomination? All are conceivable situations if someone cannot refuse service due to their personal beliefs (and I suspect all of those cited above could be classed as religious beliefs).

Offline Dice

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Maybe I am a touch old fashioned but there is a saying "The customer is always right". If you offer a service and someone is playing you for that service, you should do as you have advertised you will. Unless the law is being broken in the progress of the act, you should do what your paid to do. Want to hide behind religion as a touchstone for everything you "Morally Disagree" with? Well Fuck, grow a pair. Yea, the Bible says that gays are bad, also says you should stone to death your son if he disobeys you the second paragraph after that whole guys thing. If I want a cake to celebrate the stoning to death of my son do you have a moral issue with that? Yea, hypocritical much?

Also, if someone religious asked me to help them set up a Web page I am happy to do so. If that's my job, I will do it. It's not like I am being asked to stone someone.

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They're stuck for at least another five years, though, I believe. Their contract with the city runs through 2020. If they have something in the contract that would let them break it for this reason though that'd be hilarious.

Here's a question that Mr. Oniya brought up (we both follow George's page - saves on sharing):

What is the penalty if GenCon breaks the contract?  Assuming it's a fine of some sort, what would it equate to if the fine was spread out over the average attendance of GenCon?

And here's the big one:  If GenCon decided to take the penalty, move to another venue and cover it by raising badge prices for the next five years, would it be feasible?

Offline kylie

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Yea, the Bible says that gays are bad...
     ...  Or so people have been told, often enough by people who haven't even looked at the ancient language carefully.  Those lines about not doing with a man as a woman?  Umm, they're more likely talking about beds literally and not in the modern euphemism "to sleep with."  They're not even directly addressing anything about having sex.  On and on.  For the New Testament lines, find someone who knows their Greek language and the culture of the times, first and then try to figure out how Paul would have realistically talked about the subject (even before the early Church got around to rearranging everything and discarding books willy-nilly from 300-something AD).

Quote
, also says you should stone to death your son if he disobeys you the second paragraph after that whole guys thing. If I want a cake to celebrate the stoning to death of my son do you have a moral issue with that? Yea, hypocritical much?
     ...  But yes.  Although I would say: Christian conservatives do tend to also lean more toward the "children should suck it up and learn to have a rough life cause hey, the elder must be Respected (TM) you know and if it takes beating and threatening..."  That sort of persuasion is hardly rare, particularly in the American South.  You'll even find a good few who'd rather kill than accept a gay son, I believe. 

       Maybe try out the line about not wearing synthetic clothes.  Or better, go hunting for straightout contradictory advice and then see what the excuses are. 
 
       But it's more that people will insist on following whatever they wanna buy.  Original source or not, nice or not, family or not...  It can all get thrown under the bus by some people if you follow those lines of argument.  Fanatically uptight people are just nasty and for the many who will buy a few of your arguments, there are plenty more who just don't wanna hear it cause they have to be right about who they want to single out for abuse to make themselves somehow oh sooo "right."

Offline Dice

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You'll even find a good few who'd rather kill than accept a gay son, I believe. 

That is all kinds of twisted. I mean, how can people not understand that we are born the way we are? When did that person choose to be straight? Yea... That really gets at me.

Also I had to look it up, turns out Leviticus 20, 9 only says to kill your son, never says how. I guess I should correct myself on that. Could swear my old study Bible said you had to stone them.

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That is all kinds of twisted. I mean, how can people not understand that we are born the way we are? When did that person choose to be straight? Yea... That really gets at me.

Also I had to look it up, turns out Leviticus 20, 9 only says to kill your son, never says how. I guess I should correct myself on that. Could swear my old study Bible said you had to stone them.

I don't remember all of Lev, but stoning was one of the punishments listed for adultery (famously averted by 'Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone.')

Considering the amount of philandering I see among public figures - including lawmakers - they might want to reconsider using Leviticus as their system.  Stick with the 'Love one another as I have loved you.' ya know what I'm sayin'?

Offline Kythia

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I don't remember all of Lev, but stoning was one of the punishments listed for adultery (famously averted by 'Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone.')

Just to be irritatingly pedantic, that passage is in Deuteronomy, not Leviticus.

On topic, I'm a little confused by the intent of the law.  So I'm a deeply devout cake maker and refuse to sell a cake to a gay couple.  Why do I need a law saying I can do that?  It's my cake, I can sell it to whoever I want, surely, just like my deeply devout bar owner friends can refuse to serve anyone they want.  Leaving aside everything else, why is this law needed?

Offline consortium11

On topic, I'm a little confused by the intent of the law.  So I'm a deeply devout cake maker and refuse to sell a cake to a gay couple.  Why do I need a law saying I can do that?  It's my cake, I can sell it to whoever I want, surely, just like my deeply devout bar owner friends can refuse to serve anyone they want.  Leaving aside everything else, why is this law needed?

Because the law doesn't say that you can sell your cake to whoever you want; if you refused to sell your cake to black/LGBT/Jewish/*insert minority here* because they were black/LGBT/Jewish/*insert minority here* then you'd almost certainly fall foul of civil rights law. If there was some reason other than a couple being gay for you to refuse service to them then you may be fine; but that reason can't simply be a smokescreen to hide the fact that you refuse to serve gay people.

It would also seemingly protect against examples like the one I've mentioned in Northern Ireland; there the bakery refused to sell not on the basis of the sexuality of the customer but because of the message the customer wanted on it and still found themselves possibly falling foul of equality and civil rights laws.

Offline Kythia

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Right, I'm confused here.  I used to work in a bar - and of course I realise UK law isn't the same as US law but your bringing in the Norn Iron example seems to indicate its the same over here.  The landlord always claimed he could refuse service to anyone he felt like for any damn reason he felt like.  Was he mistaken?

Offline consortium11

Right, I'm confused here.  I used to work in a bar - and of course I realise UK law isn't the same as US law but your bringing in the Norn Iron example seems to indicate its the same over here.  The landlord always claimed he could refuse service to anyone he felt like for any damn reason he felt like.  Was he mistaken?

In short, yes.

The most relevant legislation for the UK is the Equality Act 2010 which lists a number of protected characteristics, notably age, disability, race, sex and sexual orientation. One cannot treat someone with one of the protected characteristics less favorably than one would someone without it on the basis of that characteristic. So, while your landlord may have said that he could refuse service to anyone for any reason if it turned out the reason was "they're gay" or "they're black" he'd have fallen foul of the law. Of course, he could refuse service to black and/or gay patrons but it couldn't be because they're black and/or gay; he'd have to point out some other reason that would equally apply to someone without those protected characteristics.

The various federal and state civil rights acts have a similar effect in the US.


Offline Kythia

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Fair enough.  In fairness to him, it was before 2010 that I worked there, but that's neither here nor there.  Thanks.

Offline KujeTopic starter

BTW, the governor passed this in a private ceremony on Thursday.

However the fall out continues to grow with the NCAA, the basketball organization, is thinking about their own plans that involve Indiana. Two other groups are thinking of leaving Indiana or have asked their employees to stop travel to the state.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which also holds a convention in Indianapolis, told Pence it could cancel its 2017 convention there, as well.

The chief executive of tech giant Salesforce told Pence that his company -- which had bought Indianapolis-based Exact Target for $2.5 billion in 2013 -- would abandon the state and its expansion plans there if he signed the measure into law.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff tweeted on Thursday, after Pence signed the bill: "Today we are canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination."

At least the mayor of Indy broke with the governor over the law: "And the Republican mayor of Indianapolis, Greg Ballard, broke with Pence on the bill, saying it would put his city's economy at risk.

"Indianapolis strives to be a welcoming place that attracts businesses, conventions, visitors and residents," Ballard said Wednesday in a statement. "We are a diverse city, and I want everyone who visits and lives in Indy to feel comfortable here."

All that can be referenced here: http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/25/politics/mike-pence-religious-freedom-bill-gay-rights/

Offline Lustful Bride

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On topic, I'm a little confused by the intent of the law.  So I'm a deeply devout cake maker and refuse to sell a cake to a gay couple.

Because someone can easily (and rightfully so) claim that it is discrimination.

They only use the faith to further their own goals and bigotry.

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Offline kylie

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     It's weird really...  By and large, the old Jewish laws were so hugely concerned with controlling women -- as in, knowing where they "belonged" when and who would have what sort of access/prohibitions with their spaces.  (Thus the thing about men staying out of their beds, ahem.)  I wonder when exactly this church fascination with (largely) male sexual behavior began to get foisted into the most unlikely interpretations of scripture.   
« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 10:12:04 PM by kylie »

Online Oniya

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I could go into some of the history of it - did a Biblical history course a few years back to add to the Store House -  but I think it's quite a tangent. 

Offline Tairis

Here's a question that Mr. Oniya brought up (we both follow George's page - saves on sharing):

What is the penalty if GenCon breaks the contract?  Assuming it's a fine of some sort, what would it equate to if the fine was spread out over the average attendance of GenCon?

And here's the big one:  If GenCon decided to take the penalty, move to another venue and cover it by raising badge prices for the next five years, would it be feasible?

Most likely very steep. And seeing as how Gencon is already a very very expensive con they would have a hard time relocating and increasing prices. Indianapolis has been GenCons home for so long specifically because very few other locations in the entire country have a convention center of a similar size with such a large downtown that can support such a volume of attendees.

Offline consortium11

Fair enough.  In fairness to him, it was before 2010 that I worked there, but that's neither here nor there.  Thanks.

Prior to 2010 he'd have still fallen foul of a number of anti-discrimination laws; the Equality Act 2010 largely combined and added to existing legislation rather than create new ones out of the blue.

Offline Sho

It's not just Gen Con threatening to leave, either...Sales Force is pulling out despite having 3,000 employees in Indiana. As someone who works in the tech industry myself, I'm thrilled to see people from our largest companies (Apple, Yelp, SalesForce) standing up against this law.

You can read a bit more about who is making a move against the law here.

Not so much an opinion so much as I wanted to laud all the people and companies who are standing firm against this law.