Many people are framing Indiana's just-passed, “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” as a license for Hoosier businesses to discriminate against gays. But its problems extend far beyond that.
Supporters say it will simply stop the government from compelling people to do things they object to on religious grounds. But injecting religious exemptions into the legal protections we all enjoy as Americans violates every principle of church-state separation.
When any government gives its citizens carte blanche to ignore any law simply by declaring it religiously invalid, it surrenders its very reason for existence. Don't want to serve someone of a different race or ethnicity in your restaurant? Simply claim it's against your religion and you're home free.
Of course, if someone refused to pay taxes on religious grounds, I'm pretty sure Indiana wouldn't allow that to happen. But that's the very problem with this law -- in the end, it'll simply come down to which violations will be allowed and which won't. And such selective enforcement is discrimination by definition.
If people are incapable of running their businesses in accordance with the law, then they shouldn't be in business – period. This law is bad for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. And I hope Indiana's lawmakers will see the error of their ways.