Last week, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law a religious freedom bill, which set off protests and calls for business boycotts by some people who feel that it will invite discrimination of gays and lesbians.
The bill is actually a form of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993. It was introduced in the House by then-Congressman Chuck Schumer, also a Democrat. In all, 40 percent of U.S. states have similar statues.
RFRA has a strict scrutiny test in determining a person’s genuine religious beliefs. If the government has a compelling interest, then it must, by law, find the least intrusive measures in fulfilling that mandate with respect to one’s religious convictions.
So far, RFRA hasn’t been successfully used regarding religious exemptions from marriage-related businesses. It isn’t a “blank check” to discriminate. If it were, then horrors that many think this law would yield would’ve happened long ago, as only 21 states have public accommodation laws; laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation on private businesses and government entities that provide a "that provide services to the general public."