Thursday, April 2, 2015

Editorial: Oppose Michigan’s proposed Indiana-style “religious freedom restoration” laws

By now you've heard about Indiana and Arkansas introducing regressive “religious freedom restoration” legislation. This legislation, when enacted, allows businesses to deny service to any customer at the discretion of a religious business owner or employee.

Sadly, Michigan is considering similar legislation. Our state’s civil rights act doesn’t provide protection for LGBT individuals, so this legislation would effectively legalize discrimination by both businesses and individuals against that community. (A summary of the legislation, quoted from the Freep, follows this editorial.)

Michigan, we’re better than this. Right?

Neither Jesus nor Muhammad preached hate, but that’s what this legislation is: an embodiment of hate and fear of those different from our legislators, disguised as “restoring religious freedom” as if our country’s first amendment had been repealed.

Help fight this legislation. Contact your legislators and Gov. Snyder; urge them to oppose these laws.

And if any of these laws pass in Michigan, we’ll make sure the world knows about it. We will shame the legislators who vote for it, and we’ll have help: after unanimous outcry from the civilized world, Indiana’s and Arkansas’s governors have both been forced to backtrack on support for their states’ legislation.

But it would be better if our lawmakers didn’t drag our state through this shameful circus in the first place.

The Detroit Free Press's summary of the proposed Michigan legislation follows:
■ The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which would allow a person or business to assert a religious belief defense if the state came after them for refusing services that conflict with those beliefs, such as providing catering or flowers for a same-sex marriage ceremony, and protect the Upper Peninsula nurse — a Catholic — who was fired for refusing to work in a family planning clinic that provided contraception and sterilization services.
A similar bill passed the House last year, but stalled in the Senate.
■ A package of bills that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse service to individuals or couples such as same-sex or unmarried couples who violate the agencies' religious beliefs, without fear of losing state funding. That bill has passed the House and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate.
■ A bill that would allow medical professionals or hospitals to refuse services that violate their religious beliefs. A similar bill was approved by a Senate committee in the last legislative session, but didn't get a vote in the full Senate. The bill is awaiting a committee hearing in the House of Representatives.


  1. Part of me wants this to pass to allow the market to decide these businesses' fates. At the same time I'll start ramping up my production of "Going out of business" signs.

  2. Spot on. Unfortunately, given the cretins in our present legislature it will likely sail through.