Friday, December 11, 2015

Suit Challenges Non-Discrimination Fix To Indiana's RFRA ; Local Anti-Discrimination Laws

In Indiana yesterday, two pro-family advocacy groups filed suit in state court challenging the constitutionality of this year's anti-discrimination "fix" to Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  The suit also challenges the legality of two local anti-discrimination ordinances-- one adopted by the city of Carmel and one by Indianapolis-Marion County.  The 178-paragraph complaint (full text) in Indiana Family Institute, Inc. v. City of Carmel, Indiana, (IN Super. Ct., filed 12/10/2015), says that plaintiff organizations believe in the Biblical teaching that marriage must be between one man and one woman, and that sexual relations must be within that marriage context.  They want to follow these teachings in their employment decisions and their programs.  They contend that the challenged laws preclude this, and in doing so violate a variety of state and federal constitutional provisions.  In a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit, plaintiffs' attorneys said in part:
RFRA originally protected all religious viewpoints and insured a high level of protection for peoples' free exercise of religion.  The 'fix,' however, stripped that protection based on a person's particular religious view, such as, opposition to same-sex marriage.  This pits some religions that the government protects against other religions that will suffer government punishment if they don't fall in line.  We believe this discrimination between religious views is unconstitutional...
Indianapolis Star reports on the lawsuit.

UPDATE: In January 2016 plaintiffs filed an amended complaint adding Bloomington and Columbus, Indiana as defendants.