Indiana’s S.B. 101 Will Harm Business, Unleash a Wave of Lawsuits

by HRC Staff

So-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” a “can of worms” that threatens to deeply damage state’s economic climate

WASHINGTON– Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is sounding the alarm on a bill under consideration in Indianapolis. Senate Bill 101, now before a committee in the state House of Representatives, is part of a wave of anti-LGBT legislation emerging across the country that threatens to undermine all existing state civil rights law, unleash a wave of litigation, and damage the economic climate and reputation of the states in which they are being considered.

S.B. 101, entitled the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” empowers individuals to sue the government over any policy that they believe infringes on their personal religious beliefs. If passed, the law could empower police officers to refuse to patrol the areas around synagogues or mosques, allow doctors to withhold medically-necessary information from their patients, or expose the LGBT community to a wave of new forms of discrimination.

In Indiana, local employers including Eli Lilly & Co. and Cummins have spoken out against S.B. 101, arguing that the bill is bad for business. Similar legislation has been opposed in other states by other major companies including Wal-Mart and Apple out of concern that they undermine existing civil rights law and deeply harm the business climate of states in which they are passed.

“Religious freedom is critically important, that’s why it’s enshrined in our constitution and state and federal law,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “But bills like S.B. 101 open a can of worms—they empower any individual to pick and choose which laws they want to follow and which laws they don’t, and they expose countless Hoosiers to new and pernicious forms of everyday discrimination.”

HRC is a founding member of the Freedom Indiana coalition—a campaign of state and national organizations working to halt S.B. 101 before it can inflict untold damage to Indiana. HRC has activated its thousands of members and supporters across Indiana to contact their legislators to oppose the measure.

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