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“If I ever leave here I hope never to return”

Monday, Mar 30, 2015

* Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to use a new Indiana law to poach some of its businesses

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is jumping into the flap over that controversial new Indiana “religious freedom” law, seeking to even up the score some after years in which the Hoosier state has raided jobs from Chicago and Illinois. And perhaps he’s trying to do himself some re-election good, too.

In letters to more than a dozen Indiana-based firms, Emanuel writes that the law will subject gays and lesbians to “new discrimination,” harming both them and Indiana’s ability to attract top talent. And that, he concludes, is a good reason to consider shifting business and even their headquarters to Chicago, “a welcoming place.” […]

The law Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed last week and which he yesterday said would not be repealed “threatens Indiana’s 21st century economic resurgence by taking the state back to the 1960s,” the letter says.

“But (Chicago’s) great strength is the quality of our workforce and the fact that Chicago is a welcoming place,” the letter continues. “Today, you cannot succeed in the global economy if you discriminate against your residents by treating them as second class citizens.

“As Gov. Pence changes state law to take Indiana backwards, I urge you to look next door.”

* Meanwhile, our neighbor to the east has been comparing its new law to Illinois statutes. They’re missing something, however. The Tribune explains

When Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a new state law that allows people and companies to claim a religious objection to doing business with same-sex couples, he pointed to Illinois and Kentucky, saying he was simply bringing the state in line with its neighbors.

But the Republican governor and possible presidential contender left out an important fact. While Illinois does have a law that gives special protections to religious objectors, it also bans discrimination based on sexual orientation. Indiana, on the other hand, has no such ban.

That distinction is crucial, legal experts say, because anti-discrimination laws are considered stronger than religious exemptions.

* Equality Illinois…

ILLINOIS LAWS AGAINST LGBT DISCRIMINATION PROVIDE BALANCE TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM STANDARDS

Statement by Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois

Equality Illinois denounces new laws in Indiana and under consideration in other states allowing the use of religious beliefs to discriminate and refuse service to LGBT people and other minorities, and rejects comparisons to the religious freedom law in Illinois.

We oppose legalized discrimination in Indiana under the guise of religious freedom. We are gravely concerned the new law will be used as an excuse to discriminate against the LGBT community there or anyone who visits, works, conducts business, or must travel in the state.

In acting as if the new law is a benign effort at ensuring religious freedom, officials in Indiana, Arkansas and elsewhere have cited Illinois as one state that already has such laws. While a religious freedom law has been on the books in Illinois since 1998, that’s only half the story.

Both the Indiana and Illinois laws say there must be a compelling governmental interest to burden a person’s exercise of religion, but only Illinois provides that compelling governmental interest in the LGBT-inclusive Illinois Human Rights Act and an active Department of Human Rights to enforce it.

In contrast, Indiana’s law will take effect in a legal environment that provides no protections from discrimination against LGBT Hoosiers or visitors. Neither are there LGBT protections under Arkansas law.

Illinois has a rich history of ensuring the civil rights of all peoples, including the LGBT community. Since 2005, Illinois has prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, and public accommodations. Illinois law addresses hate or bias crimes based on sexual orientation. Our LGBT students are protected by robust anti-bullying measures. And Illinois enacted marriage equality through the legislative process in 2013.

In Illinois, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and LGBT-inclusive provisions of the Human Rights Act have co-existed since 2005 and function to protect a person’s religious freedom while ensuring equal treatment of LGBT Illinoisans.

* Politifact offers up the ACLU’s opinion

Indiana’s law includes language that allows people to claim a religious freedom exemption “regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.”

That language is absent from the Illinois law.

“The Illinois law was written and designed to allow someone to change the government’s burdens on people’s religious beliefs,” said Eunice Rho, American Civil Liberties Union advocacy and policy counsel. “The Indiana law specifically says you can use the law in a lawsuit even if the government isn’t a party.”

Ultimately, judges will have to interpret the intent of the Indiana law’s language. But that doesn’t change that there are differences between it and the counterpart in Illinois.

* From the Human Rights Campaign…

In light of Indiana governor Mike Pence’s appearance on ABC’s This Week to tamp down a national outcry over his decision to sign viciously anti-LGBT S.B. 101 last week, the Human Rights Campaign issued the following statement from HRC President Chad Griffin:

“Governor Pence’s calls for a ‘clarification’ of this destructive bill are phony unless the legislation guarantees explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBT Hoosiers and includes a clear civil rights carve-out within the RFRA. If Governor Pence is right and he really doesn’t want to discriminate, he needs to prove it by protecting the LGBT residents and visitors truly at risk in Indiana. Anything less is a shameful face-saving measure.”

After criticism of the new law reached critical mass yesterday—including a statement from Indiana-based Angie’s List that they would be cancelling a planned $40 million expansion in the state in response to the new law—Governor Pence announced late last night that he would seek new legislation “clarifying” the law.

On This Week this morning, Pence offered scant details about any “clarification” legislation. He repeatedly refused to answer host George Stephanopoulos’s questions as to whether the law would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT Hoosiers or whether discrimination against LGBT Hoosiers should be legal.

Today’s headline explained here.

…Adding… From comments…

The new Indiana law allows individuals, religious organizations, and businesses to seek judicial relief if a person’s religious exercise has been “substantially burdened, or is likely to be burdened…regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.” In contrast, Illinois law allows a person to seek judicial relief only against a government and only if that person’s exercise of religion has been burdened.

In Indiana, a private party can now claim religious rights in a legal dispute with another private party “regardless of whether the state or any governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.” Additionally, a private party in Indiana can now initiate a claim of violation if their religious rights are “likely to be substantially burdened.” The party doesn’t need to demonstrate actual harm. Neither scenario is allowed under Illinois law.

These are major expansions beyond what the IL law states.

Adding More… Another commenter pointed to this Atlantic piece, which is quite good

(T)he Indiana statute explicitly makes a business’s “free exercise” right a defense against a private lawsuit by another person, rather than simply against actions brought by government. Why does this matter? Well, there’s a lot of evidence that the new wave of “religious freedom” legislation was impelled, at least in part, by a panic over a New Mexico state-court decision, Elane Photography v. Willock. In that case, a same-sex couple sued a professional photography studio that refused to photograph the couple’s wedding. New Mexico law bars discrimination in “public accommodations” on the basis of sexual orientation. The studio said that New Mexico’s RFRA nonetheless barred the suit; but the state’s Supreme Court held that the RFRA did not apply “because the government is not a party.”

Remarkably enough, soon after, language found its way into the Indiana statute to make sure that no Indiana court could ever make a similar decision. Democrats also offered the Republican legislative majority a chance to amend the new act to say that it did not permit businesses to discriminate; they voted that amendment down.

But of course, this has nothing whatsoever to do with discrimination against gays!

Yeah. Right.

…Adding Even More… From comments…

While most of the discussion of the Indiana law has been on LGBT discrimination, the impact is really much broader. Indiana does have civil rights laws that forbid discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, and disability in employment, education, real estate transactions, and public accommodations. The new Indiana law will eliminate the ability of the state Civil Rights Commission to enforce any anti-discrimination laws, and of individuals to pursue state court discrimination claims, when the potential defendant says his/her/its motivation was religiously-based.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

38 Comments
  1. - Da Kind - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 9:22 am:

    I’ll be enjoying my rastafarian religious protections in Indiana, thank you!


  2. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 9:24 am:

    Is that essentially the only, albeit a major, difference between the Indiana law compared to the federal law and the 30 other states with this on the books?


  3. - OneMan - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 9:24 am:

    At the end of the day, it shouldn’t be that hard to write a law that prevents a city from using zoning to jerk over a church and doesn’t allow you to use God as an excuse to be a jerk.


  4. - exbricklayer - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 9:32 am:

    I can’t help but think that this law could allow Muslim business owners to deny service to christian and Jewish infidels. Wear a cross or star of David into the Quick-E-Mart and no Slurpee for you.


  5. - Dr X - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 9:45 am:

    But Rauner says the only reason businesses move is taxes and evil unions. So obviously Rahm doesn’t get it.


  6. - Christopher - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 9:50 am:

    That’s nice that Rahm is supportive of LGBT rights. But I’m still voting for Chuy!


  7. - AC - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 9:52 am:

    For no reason in particular, I imagined business owners relocating to Illinois singing “Indiana wants me, Lord I can’t go back there”. If Indiana is the pro business model for Illinois to follow, then why isn’t Rauner championing similar legislation here? Could it be that Indiana isn’t the pro business utopia that he’s made it out to be?


  8. - Toure's Latte - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 9:55 am:

    The courts will draw tight lines around this one.


  9. - D.P.Gumby - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 9:59 am:

    My sincere religious beliefs prohibit the carrying of any weapons in my business establishment or its parking lot….


  10. - Aldyth - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:00 am:

    Indiana has gotten a whole lot of negative publicity over this that I am sure Pence and crew didn’t want. Lots of calls for boycotts and actions that would cost Indiana businesses money. How long will they hold out before they bow to big business and large moneymakers?


  11. - Muscular - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:02 am:

    People are beginning to realize how good a governor Mitch Daniels was. Last year an Indianapolis bakery refused to make cookies with rainbows in the color of the gay flag for a gay group. The negative press the bakery received was overwhelming and it lost a considerable amount of business. Ultimately, the decreased business caused the bakery to close. The market handled the problem better than any government could. The community decided with its dollars to not support the business and it went away.

    This law will be used both by social conservatives and LGBT groups to raise loads of money to show they are still relevant. Just as gay marriage is about to finally be decided at the Supreme court, gay groups and social conservatives have one last red meat issue on which to fundraise.


  12. - sleepysol - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:07 am:

    Formerly known as…

    yes that is the only difference.

    aldyth

    They’re not going to break, its a twitter campaign that according to topsy has already peaked. It’ll be yesterdays news by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest while all the SJW are onto their new offensive issue.


  13. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:08 am:

    ===its a twitter campaign that according to topsy has already peaked===

    Keep whistling past that graveyard.


  14. - Muscular - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:10 am:

    @AC:

    Bruce Rauner has stated confidently on numerous occasions that he passionately supports individual liberty. A free society exists when the liberty interests of multiple members are balanced with each other.


  15. - Chicago Guy - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:13 am:

    Pence did not help matters with his TV appearance on “This Week.” He simply refused to answer questions on the bill allowing people to discriminate.

    It is important to note that some of the people and groups pushing for this type of law in the U.S. are the same ones that have supported laws in Africa that criminalize homosexuality - including the death penalty.


  16. - OneMan - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:15 am:

    The US has changed when it comes to this sort of thing, you may not like that. But it is what it is and it hasn’t ‘peaked’….


  17. - chi - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:21 am:

    It looks like Indiana is currently drafting legislation to prevent this law from resulting in discrimination. If so, it’s a credit to the activists that created the backlash, and the PR people that didn’t let conservatives get away with calling a bill legalizing discrimination a “religious freedom bill”.

    Are there lessons here for the labor movement in how to fight Orwellian messaging over “right-to-work”?


  18. - ZC - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:22 am:

    If you try and pull a lot of fake comparisons and rhetorical hanky-panky around say education funding, odds are good that the media will give you a pass and let you confuse people.

    Not so when it comes to gay rights. Journalists will nail you for your inaccuracies there.

    The free press still performs some useful functions, in other words.


  19. - Wordslinger - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:29 am:

    – the Hoosier state has raided jobs from Chicago and Illinois.–

    That’s just accepted spin in some willfully ignorant media circles, with no basis in reality. Kind of like a couple of years ago when we were told over and over again that Chicago was experiencing “record” homicides when they’ve been on a steady decline for decades.

    Crain’s in its Jan. 3 issue debunked the whole “jobs fleeing to Indiana” nonsense, if anyone’s interested in fhe facts of the matter.


  20. - anonin' - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:37 am:

    Guessin’ this why Fightin’ Illini’ played the way they did….so they did not need to go to the final four in ‘NapTown.
    NCCA should show some smarts and pull the plug. When are the whack jobs gonna figure this stuff out?


  21. - A Jack - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:43 am:

    Beyond the LGBT issue, I suppose Indiana hotel desk clerks could require heterosexual couples to show marriage licenses before allowing them to check into a room if they have religious objections along those lines.


  22. - Altgeld - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:49 am:

    Formerly known as…

    That’s not the only difference. The new Indiana law allows individuals, religious organizations, and businesses to seek judicial relief if a person’s religious exercise has been “substantially burdened, or is likely to be burdened…regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.” In contrast, Illinois law allows a person to seek judicial relief only against a government and only if that person’s exercise of religion has been burdened.

    In Indiana, a private party can now claim religious rights in a legal dispute with another private party “regardless of whether the state or any governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.” Additionally, a private party in Indiana can now initiate a claim of violation if their religious rights are “likely to be substantially burdened.” The party doesn’t need to demonstrate actual harm. Neither scenario is allowed under Illinois law.

    These are major expansions beyond what the IL law states.


  23. - OneMan - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    The Atlantic has a good explanation on the differences in Indiana law…

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/03/what-makes-indianas-religious-freedom-law-different/388997/


  24. - Gooner - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:14 am:

    This really offers some interesting insights into the current state of the GOP.

    At one time, it was a pro-business party. People like me who tend to think large corporations are good at creating jobs could feel comfortable in the GOP.

    Unfortunately, too often the religious right has taken over and the party has become anti-business. We see this on a wide range of issues, from this (why give people an easy reason to avoid doing business in your state, and why make it more difficult to have a high quality work force?) to things like cracking down on the teaching of science to things like cutting funding for colleges.

    The GOP seems to want to be a Christian (as they define the term) party, rather than a business party.

    The result is that people like me have to look to the Democrats and push them to be more pro-business. The GOP looks like a lost cause. The Democrats still have some potential.


  25. - MrJM - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:23 am:

    But of course, this has nothing whatsoever to do with discrimination against gays!

    Yeah. Right.

    And this annotated photo of the attendees at the closed-door signing ceremony addresses that head-on: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CBShFNdUgAEakI2.jpg

    – MrJM


  26. - Great Caesar's Ghost! - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:27 am:

    Here’s a thought … require businesses that support the law place a decal at the entrance saying so. Let’s see how many would.


  27. - wendy - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:37 am:

    While most of the discussion of the Indiana law has been on LGBT discrimination, the impact is really much broader. Indiana does have civil rights laws that forbid discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, and disability in employment, education, real estate transactions, and public accommodations. The new Indiana law will eliminate the ability of the state Civil Rights Commission to enforce any anti-discrimination laws, and of individuals to pursue state court discrimination claims, when the potential defendant says his/her/its motivation was religiously-based.


  28. - Scott Fawell's Cellmate - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:50 am:

    Great Caesar’s Ghost @ 11:27A:

    Some IN st reps are talking about doing just this, i.e. requiring businesses that do not serve GLBT to post signage stating this.

    Practice what you preach ?
    Then preach what you practice.


  29. - OneMan - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:54 am:

    wendy

    For what it is worth, the Atlantic article seems to argue in part that isn’t correct…


  30. - Archiesmom - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:55 am:

    Thank you, Mike Pence, and kiss 2016 goodbye.


  31. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 12:07 pm:

    @Altgeld - muchas gracias for the explanation

    @sleepysol - gracias


  32. - wendy - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 12:13 pm:

    OneMan:

    I went back to reread the Garrett Epps article. I see where he says the intent was to allow anti-LGBT discrimination, but I don’t see where there is any discussion of what else it opens the door for. Is there another Atlantic article? Have I missed it in the article that was linked to? I apologize if I have.


  33. - Mokenavince - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 12:17 pm:

    No doubt about it this law can’t be legal. Their will be a court battle and Pence will lose.
    He can kiss his Presidential aspirations good by.
    Actually he did a terrible job on ABC TV yesterday. We will see if he caves into business pressure, I think he’s hard headed enough not too.
    Indiana will pay dearly for his lack of leadership.


  34. - Wensicia - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 12:28 pm:

    The law is unconstitutional. Pence doesn’t need to clarify anything; it’s pretty obvious what they’re attempting here. And the more he opens his mouth, the more bigoted he comes across.


  35. - ZC - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:03 pm:

    I’m not at all convinced yet the law is unconstitutional. A terrible law, sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional.

    Certainly there’s no explicit federal law violation. I suppose the clearest Supreme Court precedent so far that might be relevant here is _Romer v Evans_ and maybe Kennedy’s concurring opinion in _Hobby Lobby_, which while he doesn’t come out and say it I’m convinced is a reference to gay rights under the federal RFRA.


  36. - Concerned - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:09 pm:

    Pence would like all of us to stop being so intolerant of his intolerance, er, he means, bigotry, er, he means, his right to be intolerant of those who religious Hoosiers despise, er, he means, oh well, never mind. He’ll come up with a bill to clarify what he means, just as soon as he can figure out what he means.


  37. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:28 pm:

    ==A free society exists when the liberty interests of multiple members are balanced with each other.==

    Rights always have to be balanced. This doesn’t even come close to a balance.


  38. - Belle - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 3:02 pm:

    Poach jobs while the poaching is hot!

    In a time when it is difficult to make ends meet and businesses are struggling, IN is making it easier for fools to deny service to one of the wealthier and better educated segments of our population.

    Angie’s List is in d/t Indianapolis and Gilt Warehouses (we just drove thru there) are far south…tech businesses are the way to go these days. Why discourage businesses staying in your state? These businesses are growing and attract young people.

    Pence is acting like a fool. Rahm wants to get re-elected and bringing jobs into Chgo on the heels of this public disaster would shine a positive light on him. He’s a business guy and deal maker at heart.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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