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Family Research Council Supports Pence’s ‘Clarification’ of RFRA

The Family Research Council supports Indiana Gov. Mike Pence‘s (R) proposed “clarification” to the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act that the governor signed into law last week.

“RFRAs are not intended to nor have they ever been used to deny anyone non-religious goods or services,” FRC president Tony Perkins said in a statement. “We support such a clarification making clear RFRA does not impact non-religious goods or services.”

FRC, a socially conservative group, maintained that the law’s original intent was to “protect people from government discrimination” against deeply-held religious beliefs. Perkins said the state has been subject to “misinformation” and “bullying” from the law’s critics.

At a Tuesday press conference, Pence called on Indiana lawmakers to have a “legislative fix” to the law on his desk this week, just one day after Republican leaders acknowledged they are working on such a clarification.

“The governor addressed the complete falsehood that RFRA is about denying people a seat in a restaurant or a room at a hotel,” Perkins added, reiterating the FRC’s support for the original intent of the law. “Christians would never deny people these services but being forced to participate in a ceremony that violates religious beliefs is completely un-American and uncivil.”

Full statement below:

The governor addressed the complete falsehood that RFRA is about denying people a seat in a restaurant or a room at a hotel. Christians would never deny people these services but being forced to participate in a ceremony that violates religious beliefs is completely un-American and uncivil. We must ensure that religious business owners are not forced by the government to participate in a same-sex ceremony. What RFRA is intended to do is to protect people from government discrimination. However, until we see the wording of his proposal, the impact on religious businesses and churches is unknown.

RFRAs are not intended to nor have they ever been used to deny anyone non-religious goods or services. We support such a clarification making clear RFRA does not impact non-religious goods or services.

The government shouldn’t force religious businesses and churches to participate in wedding ceremonies contrary to their owners’ beliefs. If the government punishes people for living their faith, there are no limits to what government can control. We want to be sure that the measure proposed by the governor isn’t used as a weapon to impose punishing fines on people like florist Barronelle Stutzman, bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein, and wedding photographer Elaine Huguenin.

Indiana has been the target of misinformation, and bullying in both the media and online, simply for joining 19 other states in aligning themselves with federal religious freedom law. What is unfolding in Indiana reveals the source of true intolerance: those who want the government to punish people for freely living according to their beliefs.

[Image via screengrab]

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