A new bill passed last week in Indiana by Governor Mike Pence is not sitting well with members of the gay and lesbian community as well as other civic groups.
The bill, known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, prevents the state from restricting a person’s ability to exercise their religion.
Many people including Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, have charged that the bill could allow businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers.
“We are deeply disappointed in Indiana’s new law,” Mr Cook tweeted.
“Apple is open for everyone.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the law was “opening the floodgates to discrimination against LGBT people”.
“The timing of this legislation is important to understanding its intent: The bill was introduced as a backlash reaction to achieving marriage equality for same-sex couples in Indiana,” said Jane Henegar, executive director of the ACLU of Indiana.
The Indiana Governor, however, has stoutly defended the act, “This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it. In fact, it does not even apply to disputes between private parties unless government action is involved. For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nation’s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana,” he said in a statement.
Nevertheless, business leaders in the state have condemned the act.
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau Fellow
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