Conservative Groups in Indiana File Lawsuit over State RFRA

Remember when Indiana passed its version of a RFRA bill earlier this year? Its passage drew intense criticism from all over the country and boycotts from variety of sources, including corporations like Angie’s List and the NBA. The governors of some other cities and states even enacted bans on state-funded travel to Indiana. The backlash was focused on the fact that Indiana’s RFRA would allow businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community in the name of religion.

In the wake of the public backlash, the state General Assembly was forced to redraft the language of the bill to provide a “fix” to the RFRA, which the governor signed into law. We remained critical of such a “fix”, finding that it still did not go far enough to prohibit religiously affiliated organizations from using RFRA to trump nondiscrimination laws.

And now it seems like the Religious Right is not happy with the “fix” either. Two groups have filed a lawsuit challenging the RFRA language, as well as nondiscrimination laws in the state. Legal experts note that this lawsuit is both “convoluted” and “merely an attempt to influence upcoming legislation.”

From the Indy Star:

The Indiana Family Institute and American Family Association of Indiana, two conservative lobbying groups, filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging local nondiscrimination ordinances in Indianapolis and Carmel that protect sexual orientation and gender identity.

In claiming the ordinances strip the groups of their religious freedom protections, the lawsuit also contends that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act “fix” — which upholds such laws from religious objections — is unconstitutional.

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Elise Helgesen Aguilar

Elise Helgesen Aguilar is the Federal Legislative Counsel at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Elise graduated cum laude from the University of Florida Law School in 2011. There, she was Executive Articles Editor for the Journal of Law and Public Policy as well as the founder and president of the University of Florida ACLU. After law school, Elise worked on voting rights and electoral reform as a Legal Fellow with FairVote. She also worked on successful Congressional campaigns in both Florida and Virginia. Elise graduated cum laude from the College of William and Mary in 2008 with a B.A. in Government. She is originally from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.