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Religious Conservative Groups Ask Court To Strike Down RFRA Fix

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Brandon Smith
/
IPB News

Religious conservative groups faced off in court Thursday against the state and four Hoosier cities over a change to the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. 

Normally, in a court hearing about discrimination, someone is trying to argue they don’t discriminate. Attorney Jim Bopp, who represents Indiana’s most high-profile religious conservative groups, wants to convince a judge that his clients do and will discriminate, specifically against LGBTQ people.

“Because that is so fundamentally contrary to their message, they are justified under the First Amendment to exclude them from their programs or from employment,” Bopp says.

The “RFRA fix” Bopp wants struck down clarified that the law’s religious freedom defense couldn’t be used to justify denying service to someone based on characteristics such as age, race, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Attorneys for the state and four Indiana cities say the religious conservative groups don’t have a case ironically, because there’s no evidence they’ve actually discriminated against anyone.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.