Indiana lawmakers reveal changes to controversial religious-freedom law

The law has received severe opposition over the past week

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The Independent US

Indiana politicians have drafted changes to the state’s controversial religious-freedom law that has been in the spotlight this week after many said the law allowed discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The bill clarifies the religious-freedom law – signed last week by Indiana Governor Mike Pence – by saying it does not grant anyone the right to refuse service, employment or housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the Wall Street Journal reported.

 

It also includes language that prevents the law from providing a legal defence in a civil case over the refusal of service based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Both churches and religious organisations are exempt from these restrictions.

These changes were made at the request of Governor Pence, who was on the receiving end of severe backlash from business leaders, out-of-state politicians and civic groups after he signed the original bill.

The stated purpose of the religious-freedom law was to prevent the government from infringing on the religious beliefs of citizens or business owners, but opponents say it opened the door for discrimination against gays.

The Journal reported that the new bill has the support of many in the Indiana legislature, as well as business leaders and civic groups. It now is set to receive a vote in the state House and Senate, respectively.

The legislators said that they have the votes in both chambers of the state legislature to pass the bill, adding that they worked with Governor Pence on the language. The governor has not whether he will sign the bill.

 

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