NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Last week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed Senate Bill 101, a law meant to protect free exercise of religion. The law says the state cannot limit the way a person exercises his or her religion, unless those limitations are out of government interest. This allows managers to apply their religious practices to their businesses.
However, opponents say that this creates a slippery slope, and it could give businesses the right to refuse gay people any of their services. Republican leaders of the Indiana Legislature said on Monday the law does not permit discrimination, and they are working to clean up the language to clarify that.
Northampton residents told 22News they’re appalled. “People can express their religious freedom without taking other rights of other people because they don’t like the way they have a lifestyle,” says Anne Griffin of Florence.
Marvin Warren of Northampton said, “I think it’s pretty obviously – it’s not even a veiled attempt to discriminate, which is unconstitutional, and furthermore, it claims to be protecting peoples religious freedoms which are protected under the first amendment of the constitution.”
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed an executive order on Monday blocking state-funded travel to Indiana, and other states that permit potential discrimination on sexual orientation.
Language may be added to clarify the law before it takes effect July 1st.