The Backlash on Indiana: ‘Oversimplifying or Mischaracterizing the Law’

by John Fund

Some mild corrective articles are being published about the Indiana controversy over the state’s new religious-freedom law, which mirrors a federal law signed by Bill Clinton along with laws in 19 other states. Barack Obama voted for Illinois’s version as a state senator back in 1998.

Politico has a detailed piece up by reporter Adam Lerner, with a subbed that says it all: “Indiana’s religious freedom law actually doesn’t do much. It’s the backlash that matters.”

Indeed, the backlash includes everybody from Apple CEO Tim Cook to singer Miley Cyrus. They apparently have concluded the Hoosier State is recreating the Inquisition. But the reality is more complicated. As Lerner notes: “Both sides of the legal debate agree the backlash largely consists of people oversimplifying or mischaracterizing the law for their own purposes.”

As for the political ramifications of the backlash, they appear to be limited. A recent Pew Research Center survey found Americans split right down the middle on whether companies be forced to provide services to same-sex marriages over any religious objections.

If the backlash leaders want to pin their professed support for “cultural tolerance” on Indiana’s law they are welcome to do so. But they risk their own form of “blowback” when some people realize their thermonuclear reaction isn’t warranted by the facts.

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