I am a man of faith and, as such, I am a man of compassion and a man of empathy.
I try everyday to treat people as my equal, and I try to live by the golden rule.
I also support the right of millions of Americans to express their religious identity and to live their life by their own standards, so long as those standards don’t infringe upon the life, liberty or property of others.
In our state legislature, there is a piece of legislation progressing that seeks to place the religious liberty of the many before the personal liberty of the few.
Senate Bill 101, deemed the “religious freedom” bill, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in a vote of 7-0, with no Democrats present to oppose the bill.
Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, is pushing hard for the bill in the Senate, saying “The right of each person to practice his or her religious faith is one of America’s ?foundational principles.”
While I don’t argue this is true, I do contest there must be a limit placed on the religious liberty exercised by entities such as ?businesses.
As former Star Trek actor George Takei said in a speech to Butler University, “If you’re opening up a business, you’re opening up a business to do business. And that’s with everyone in your community.”
This is larger in scope than a bakery refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. While hurtful emotionally, that type of discrimination does not have the same effect as, say, a pediatrician refusing to treat a child of a same-sex couple.
Michigan has no laws protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people from discrimination. Jami and Krista Contreras, a married, lesbian couple in Oak Park, Mich., took their daughter, Bay, to a pediatrician’s office several months ago.
After arriving at the pediatrician’s office, Dr. Vesna Roi, their chosen doctor, was not present.
Instead, one of Roi’s colleagues told the couple that “after praying on it,” Dr. Roi has decided she would not care for the child.
Dr. Roi send the Contrerases a letter saying she felt she would not be able to develop the same personal patient-doctor relationship that she normally would with her patients.
In other words, Dr. Roi would be unable to treat her patients as all doctors ought to treat their patients — as human beings. If Senate Bill 101 passes through the Senate and then through the House, I have no doubt Gov. Pence will sign it into law.
And this will open the floodgates for discrimination to crush the lives of thousands of LGBT individuals and couples across this state.
I love Indiana, but I cannot stand by her as her legislators consistently try to make it harder for people like myself to live our lives.
If patients can be denied medical care for being LGBT, what’s next? Can utility companies refuse to provide LGBT homes with water or electricity?
Can schoolteachers refuse to teach the children of LGBT parents?
This much will be uncertain under Senate Bill 101. LGBT Hoosiers need more protections from a ?tyrannical majority, not less.