Hobby Lobby Ruling Opened Floodgates For Indiana Discrimination Law


Nearly all parents attempt to teach their children from a young age that every one of their decisions in life will have consequences; no matter how inconsequential they may seem at the time. It is no different for politicians and, more importantly to Americans, Supreme Court justices. In fact, Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that Supreme Court decisions “exercise a kind of hydraulic effect.” He meant that even if the decision’s authors assert that their rulings will have limited impact, the cases will invariably have a profound influence on American society sometime in the future.

Americans are witnessing the profound and dangerous impact of the High Court’s Hobby Lobby decision to dismantle the 1st Amendment’s religious clauses and exempt religious devotee’s from adhering to state and federal laws. In writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said the ruling was ‘very narrow in scope‘ and would have a very limited impact on Americans other than empowering religious employers to force their religion on their employees. However, within two weeks the Vatican-5 expanded that ruling as a portent that the Hobby Lobby decision would soon have a very profound impact on Americans’ lives; something Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned was going to happen.

In writing the dissenting opinion in Hobby Lobby, Ginsburg put the so-called “limited impact” ruling nonsense into proper perspective and said that the Vatican-5 effectively ruled that religion trumps all other laws. The Jurist said that the Hobby Lobby ruling was a “decision of startling breadth, ventured into a minefield” and argued strongly that “the majority turned the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into a protean tool for all sorts of evasions;” many pundits and legal experts distilled her entire dissent into “the conservative Court opened the floodgates of religious imposition on  America.” Republicans in Indiana quickly made use of the “protean tool” to give religious bigots legal license to discriminate at will against, according to the law, “any person” they believe are sinners and violate their religious freedom. There is no mention of gays, LGBT, or same-sex couples in Indiana’s law; any person of any religion, race, or gender can be discriminated against with the full legal protection of religious freedom law.

The Hobby Lobby ruling answered the question conscience clause advocates have asked since the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed in 1993; “when do religious convictions allow individuals or businesses to excuse themselves from legal obligations like adhering to equal and civil rights laws or providing medical care?” That question was answered last year in the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision and it is the driving force behind the rash of legal discrimination laws about to sweep 23 Republican states across the nation. Remember, the crux of the Vatican-5’s ruling was that the faithful are exempt from following any laws on religious grounds whether they are ensconced in the nation’s founding document or federal and state legal statutes.

That horrendous Hobby Lobby decision began opening the gate for the religiously observant to claim privileges that are unavailable to anyone else, and it started within a week of the ruling being handed down. Now the floodgates are wide open and there is no recourse except for decent Americans and businesses to wage economic warfare on bigoted Republican states with extreme prejudice. Even though Justice Alito claimed the scope of the ruling was very narrow, the Papal-5 effectively dismantled the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the 1st Amendment that puts the guilt of the flood of license to discriminate laws solely on the High  Court’s conservatives. Why? Because there are no longer any Constitutional equal rights protections that are not subordinate to a person of faith’s religious exemption to disregard the law. It may be why, a year after the Hobby Lobby ruling, the lawmaker behind the Arkansas license to discriminate measure, Republican Bob Ballinger, said that “The reality is what we’re doing here is really not that remarkable;” or illegal or unconstitutional because religion.

The Indiana law, like the recently passed Arkansas law and those proceeding through 23 other state legislatures, is likely the product of religious Republicans’ attempt to thwart same-sex marriage and rally their religious base around “the issue” god hates going into the 2016 election cycle. It is why several Republican presidential hopefuls have come out in support of the Indiana law and defended Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s signing a clearly religious law aimed at legalizing discrimination against a wide range of Americans; a law that was unlikely to pass constitutional muster prior to Hobby Lobby.

Last year when Arizona passed ‘license to discriminate’ legislation, the overriding opinion was that it would be struck down as unconstitutional if it ever became law. The Indiana law is a mirror image of the Arizona legislation that passed the legislature only to be vetoed by then-governor Jan Brewer over a budget dispute. Like the Arizona legislation, Indiana’s law explicitly exempts “a partnership, a limited liability company, a corporation, a company, a firm, a society, a joint-stock company, an unincorporated association, or any other entity” from legal ramifications associated with discriminating against “any person” they believe violates their religious freedom. It is important to remember the word gay is not a part of the Indiana law; anyone can be the target of discrimination with absolute legal protections as long as religious freedom is cited. The High Court made those kinds of laws constitutionally protected.

That protection was an overriding question before Hobby Lobby, and one opponents and supporters of Arizona’s law asked before the Supreme Court ruling. Since Arizona’s legislation, like Indiana’s and now Arkansas’, do not cite a specific group as a target of discrimination, many people asked “what about religious individuals who say that they have objections to conducting business with gay people or immigrants? Will they be excused from honoring the nation’s anti-discrimination laws?” Although that issue appeared to be unresolved prior to the Hobby Lobby ruling, it is resolved now and it is why 23 states have religious laws making their way through Republican legislatures.

In no small part the expansion effects of Hobby Lobby are due to the efforts of several evangelical and Catholic groups; particularly a so-called conservative legal group, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. It began dedicating itself to expanding the reach of the Hobby Lobby decision immediately after the ruling was announced. Obviously, with Indiana’s law, Arkansas’ recently passed legislation, and similar laws progressing in a couple of dozen other states, the Becket Fund is seeing the fruits of its labor realized in a very big religious way. And for all the people that continue shouting the license to discriminate laws are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling says otherwise; religious liberty trumps all constitutional protections.

Americans do not get to vote on Supreme Court jurors, but they do elect the religious Republicans pushing the laws legalizing discrimination as a result of the High Court’s ruling. The people of Indiana, Arkansas, and twenty-plus other Republican states knew they were voting for ‘socially-conservative’ Republicans that made no secret their intent was enacting laws to punish residents that did not fit their bible-thumping real American mold. Frankly, the people of Indiana who will suffer the economic consequences of their bigoted legislature and governor deserve what they get. Because if they had listened to their parents warning that their decisions have consequences, they would have voted differently, if they even bothered to vote.

21 Replies to “Hobby Lobby Ruling Opened Floodgates For Indiana Discrimination Law”

  1. In the first place there is ABSOLUTELY NO reason to enact ANY type of law concerning or “strengthening” “religious freedoms”! The religious in this nation already have way too much power from the beginning and there is no need for more. In fact there is a clear and present need to diminish their power substantially in a world where pragmatism and common sense are in their greatest need. The “war on Christianity” and the “war on religion” are simply the word NO!! When we stand up for reality and say NO! to them then we are looked upon as evil and have in their alleged minds declared a war on them. There is no war their is no real battle with us, the war and battle are taking place in the minds of the faithful. Their humanity is battling their weakness and reliance on faith and their weaknesses are winning.

  2. All those times Indiana Gov. Mike Pence blathered on about how his state’s new law wasn’t actually a license to discriminate and how “I believe in my heart of hearts that no one should be harassed or mistreated because of who they are, who they love, or what they believe. And I believe every Hoosier shares that conviction,” he might ought to have considered the caliber of the person who was then going to come out and announce they were taking advantage of the law and would be discriminating against teh gays going forward. Like for instance the O’Connor family, owners of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana.

    “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” says Crystal O’Connor of Memories Pizza. […]
    “We’re not discriminating against anyone, that’s just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything,” says O’Connor.

  3. Exactly. They are fighting a war that doesn’t exist. They are not upset over their supposed loss of rights. They’re upset over their very real loss of privilege.

  4. I’d like to hear Justice Alito explain this limited scope thing now. The Vatican 5 knew very well what the impact of Hobby Lobby would be and if they did not, then they are not qualified to sit on The Supreme Court Of The United States. What would those Republicans who were worried about what would happen if JFK, a Catholic, was elected say about those Supreme Court members? Justice Scalia’s claim to be a constitutionalist has been shown to be bull***t time and time again. They should all resign in shame.

  5. Wow. They probably won’t read the reviews anyway, but WOW. The owners hate has come full circle on them. Karma, gotta love it.

  6. Of course the Hobby Lobby decision opened the floodgates to discrimination. Anybody with even the brains of a gnat could have figured that out for themselves.

    Pence actually admitted that that decision is what prompted him and his Republican legislators to create and pass the Indiana law. And now other red states are following along like a bunch of puppets.

    Although the Hobby Lobby decision had nothing to do with the gay community, but to a company being allowed to control their employees birth control, and even though the decision was for “closely held” businesses, the decision was broad enough that it allowed the religious right to take as much advantage of it as they could. Now they had the law on their side to legally go after the LGBT community.

    SCOTUS has to bear the blame for this travesty. The decision they made violates the very constitution they swore to uphold. There is no longer a separation of church and state.

  7. The problem here, is that your premise is just completely wrong. It can be summed up with this quote, “the faithful are exempt from following any laws on religious grounds whether they are ensconced in the nation’s founding document or federal and state legal statutes.”

    This could not be more wrong. Religious freedom is not balanced against absolutes. It is balanced against “compelling interests”, “reasonable burdens” and “least intrusive means”, to paraphrase. This is why you cannot, for example, claim your religion calls for human sacrifice and be exempt from murder laws. Laws cannot be written to include every specific case, which is why we have courts, due process, and legal precedent, but this reality unfortunately opens the RFRAs for all sorts of nonsensical and thinly argued “hypotheticals” such as those on the pages of this site. These hypotheticals, however, are not reasonable arguments.

  8. There are 6 Catholics on the Supreme Court. 5 of the 6 are conservatives aka RWNJs. Therefore, we have a double whammy – Catholic + RWNJ. Evidently, 5 Catholics are unable to separate their personal religious beliefs from their duty to uphold the Constitution.

  9. Before SCOTUS made its decision on Hobby Lobby, I was telling friends, if the court ruled in HL favor it will open Pandora’s box. Sadly most of my friends had no idea what I was talking about. I believe people, especially corporations are begining to realize how bad the HL ruling was.

  10. In my opinion, I find it amusing with these Gov. turning into pretzels. Trying to make nice with the Corps. That bring Jobs and revenue to their States, and the Right fringe voters that put them in office.

    It looks like they are trying to thread a camel and the rich man through the same “eye of the needle” at the same time. Proceed Governors.

  11. The only Freedom that the religious pursue, and have always pursued: The Freedom to avoid being treated like everyone else.

    Witness: Taxation.

  12. But this is what got me thinking, WHO THE F@CK HAS PIZZA CATERED TO THIER WEDDING, GAY OR STRAIGHT! If this doesn’t sound like white trailer trash I don’t know what would.

  13. I wonder how many other laws / acts are on the books where the Hobby Lobby ruling can impact the interpretation as a can of worms.

  14. These “religious freedom” laws do more than make discrimination legal. They make those of us who are not religious second class citizens. Religious Americans now have rights Non-Religious Americans do not.

  15. This law isn’t just anti-gay. My religious scruples can be offended by all manner of things: Muslims, women prettier than me (she’s obviously a slut), men who drink, Jews, those awful liberal christians, women who don’t wear head scarves, women who do wear head scarves.
    I hear that the Church of Cannabis has opened its doors in Indiana. Yup, the law goes both ways. I sincerely believe that Cannabis is essential to my faith. [wink]

  16. No, it is not enough for them to “resign in shame” – they have destroyed every shred of our Constitution. Not only for the treason of “Citizens United” and “Hobby Lobby” but the ultimate crime of not counting Florida votes in the 2000 election (the “hanging chad” lie). Resignation is not enough for justice to be done. We must: (1) take back the US Senate, (2) impeach those so-called Justices from the Supreme Court, and (3) put them into the worst prison we have for the rest of their lives. Only them, through their miserable deaths can America be reborn as the Land of the Free.

  17. That’s where you are wrong. I despise the Indiana law, but the RFRA has a valid purpose. It’s kept governments from infringing on the religious right of American Indians to use peyote (which is what the original RFRA was passed to protect in the first place), it’s kept a Texas school from making an American Indian boy cut his hair, it’s protected the religious rights of Muslims and Wiccans and other religions. All other RFRA’s affect ONLY the government, and specifically do not cover interactions between private individuals like Indiana’s does. The Indiana law goes further than originally intended, thanks to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling.

    Religious rights ARE under attack in America. They just happen to be the religious rights of anyone who is not a straight, white, male, Evangelical Christian, and RFRA’s are supposed to protect them.

  18. If the SCOTUS were to overturn CU, Hobby L, and
    the great WMD lie harshing herb and ruining lives
    since the 1930s, this land would be a much better
    place to live. Jah bless, kindred spirits.

  19. Religion and hate is the cause of Wars, from the very beginning. That is why God spoke to Moses, brought us the Ten Commandments And Jesus, brought us “a New Commandment I give you, that is for You to Love One Another.”
    I guess we don’t do so well with the
    “New Commandment” that Jesus gave
    Jews& Christians,
    to “Love One Another”

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