April 1, 2015
Originally published on CNN.com
The tension between laws that protect religious liberty and those that prohibit discrimination against gays is the culture war battleground of the decade. The recent enactment of Indiana’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” is but the latest flashpoint for this ongoing clash.
Once again, as they did in Arizona last year, gay rights proponents are portraying the religious liberty law as going too far and giving those who object to homosexuality a “license to discriminate.” Those supporting the law point to expanding legal recognition for gay marriage, and more. They argue the law protects them against the state coercing them to violate their faith at the penalty of sanctions.
Both sides have a mixed record of wins and losses (the Arizona RFRA was defeated and the Indiana RFRA was passed) and what the state RFRA would actually permit is the subject of mutual misinformation. The two sides have jointly succeeded in portraying the choice as a “zero sum game.” Either we expand gay rights while trampling on the conscientious objections of Americans of faith, or we protect religious liberty and consign gays to unequal treatment.