Legislators To Consider RFRA Repeal

Jan 8, 2016
Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

As legislators ponder adding civil rights protections for gays and lesbians, they'll also revisit the religious-freedom law which sparked the whole debate.

Senators will consider a bill repealing RFRA and replacing it with a new version.

Indianapolis Republican Mike Young says it broadens the focus from freedom of religion to all First Amendment rights and the right to bear arms, classifying those freedoms as "fundamental rights."

Young argues the bill should address objections about how RFRA was drafted.

Brandon Smith / http://www.ipbs.org/

Two groups among the state’s most outspoken opponents of LGBTQ civil rights laws are challenging a law enacted by the state legislature, as well as ordinances adopted by the cities of Carmel and Indianapolis.

The Indiana Family Institute and the American Family Association of Indiana on Thursday filed a lawsuit that claims, among other things, the state and local laws violate the groups’ religious liberties.

Waiting For The Word / https://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/5602081913

A prominent group of Indiana-based Christians is speaking out against Governor Pence's refusal to admit Syrian refugees to the state.

Christian Church of the Disciples of Christ spokesperson Cherilyn Willams says the church’s opposition to the Governor's move isn't based on politics or ideology.

“We’re very disappointed in the attitude of fear that seems to be prevalent,” Williams says. “Knowing that these folks have been vetted, they are our brothers and sisters as God’s children and it feels like we’re not being very welcoming.”

Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Legislators convene next Tuesday for the ceremonial opening of what shapes up as a third straight legislative session dogged by issues surrounding gay marriage.

Republican leaders have been mum about whether they'll hear a civil rights bill, or what form it might take if they do. But the Indiana Chamber has thrown its weight behind such a bill, calling it a "necessary action" to counteract negative perceptions from this year's quickly amended Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana Senate Democrats have unveiled what they call a simple and powerful approach to enshrine lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender non-discrimination language in the state’s civil rights statute. 

The Senate Democrats’ proposal essentially adds four words to the list of people protected by the state civil rights law: “sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) says doing so would fulfill a fundamental Hoosier value that all people deserve equal protection under the law. 

Payne Horning / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Only one sitting Indiana governor has lost a reelection bid since the state amended its constitution in 1972 allowing governors to serve consecutive terms. Some believe Governor Mike Pence could be the second.

One of those people is Kevin Warren, an Indianapolis realtor. He said he had never considered himself politically active, but that changed after Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act this spring.

Steve Baker / https://www.flickr.com/photos/littlebiglens/

Wednesday‘s announcement of a nine-year commitment from the Future Farmers of America, or FFA, is Indianapolis‘s first big score in the convention market since the religious-freedom controversy.

But officials say they need more data before they can assess whether the RFRA storm has passed.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard says he believes the city and state have taken the right steps to prevent more damage, with legislators following RFRA with a bill declaring it can‘t be used to justify discrimination.

Pence Makes First Comments On PR Firm's Departure

Jul 9, 2015
Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Pence says the state bailed early on a public relations contract to rehab the state‘s image because it was no longer necessary.

In his first public comments on last week‘s abrupt termination of a contract with Washington-based Porter Novelli, Pence says he supported the May hiring of the firm to assess potential damage from the just-concluded battle over the new religious-freedom law. But he echoes a statement from economic development officials that near-record jobs numbers indicate the state is doing fine on its own.

Christopher Ayers / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana’s highly-publicized First Church of Cannabis is going to court, hoping to stop the state from enforcing marijuana laws when it comes to the use of cannabis in its church services. 

The state's so-called "religious freedom" law creates a legal standard that says government must have a compelling reason to restrict someone’s religious practice and do so in the least burdensome way possible. 

Gretchen Frazee / http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/

Leaders of an LGBT Christian group holding its annual conference in Indianapolis despite the passage of RFRA earlier this year says they want the governor and lawmakers to hear from a Christian community supportive of gay, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people.

Several months ago, The Evangelical Network decided to move its conference from Nashville to Indianapolis.  And when the controversy over Indiana’s RFRA law erupted, organization president Todd Ferrell says there was lots of pressure – including from those planning to attend – to move the event out of Indiana.