One Way to Talk to People About “Religious Freedom” Laws Like Indiana’s

Karin Kallmaker LIFE + STYLE 4 Comments

Two Women TalkingHow would you like to walk into a bakery, clothing store or dentist, either by yourself or in front of your kids or grandparents, and have the person behind the counter take one look at you and say “We don’t serve your kind.” And it is legal to treat you that way.

How would you like to pick where to eat based on the hope you won’t be publicly humiliated and shunned? How would you like to live in a world where you keep a list of businesses you can’t ever go into because that’s the law? How would you like to tell your kids “We’re not allowed in that toy store”?

To the response of “That will never happen”… Then why was this law necessary if that’s not what people really want to do? To have it be legal when they decide based on how you look that they don’t want to help you?


People who are for these bills don’t seem to think they will ever be the victim of them. Most, frankly, seem obsessed with the idea of getting to use the law to keep their businesses free of customers they just don’t like the look of.

I am also mindful that while this bill makes it legal for businesses to treat people this way, people of color have always lived in this world – this kind of behavior exists all over America, right now. But at least such behavior wasn’t supposed to be legal. Bigots had to hide their refusal-to-serve and just whisper how to do it among themselves, keeping more and more to the shadows of society with a stigma of shame. Laws like these prop up petty bigotry, disrespect, ignorance and indignity as righteousness, and bring it out into the light as if it’s a virtue.

Comments 4

  1. There is only one way I talk to people who support this law, and that’s with disgust. It’s socially acceptable to call out a racist and say they’re an asshole, but when you say that about someone who hates LGBTQ people you’re oppressing their religion. Yeah. Okay.

    I’m young and I want to see this country continue changing for the better, not to regress backwards over any progress we’ve made thus far. This is just ridiculous. I have short hair and I sometimes wear flannel shirts and in the minds of a lot of people, that makes me a lesbian. This doesn’t just affect LGBTQ people, but anyone the owners feel may look a little gay. And then, what if this law is upheld and people start claiming tattoos or colored hair are against their religion? They’re already allowed to refuse gay people, so how can we make them stop there as long as it’s in the name of “religion.”

    I honestly just want to know the hell is running a business model that turns any customers away. Money is money, and I hope that if the bill passes all of those businesses that support it go under.

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      Author

      Charlotte, I’m proposing a way to get people who haven’t thought through what a law like this could mean to them, and are openly wondering “What’s all the fuss about?” Instead of attacking them for their ignorance, why not give them a chance to have a flash of empathy. For those people who don’t really get it – they’ve never in their lives felt discrimination – asking how they’d feel if they were humiliated in front of their kids because someone THOUGHT they were gay, might turn their head and heart in the right direction.

  2. This type of law cannot be allowed to stand. It certainly cannot be allowed to spread to other states. My wife and I live in Ohio. We’ve traveled to Indiana for events, shopping and entertainment in the past. We won’t be going again until this law is repealed.

    My wife and I live in a tiny village. She grew up here and everyone knows her. I hold a position in the community where I work directly with the public and I see many if not most of the residents of our little town sometime during the course of any given work week. Because she grew up here and because of my job, we’re treated with respect and just like everyone else most of the time by most of the people here…but not all of the time and not by everyone. Some people are blatant in their hatred toward either one of us. Sadly, the bad treatment often comes when we’re together and someone who’s not familiar with either one of us makes assumptions. When we move out of the shelter of this little village where we’re so well known, who knows what assumptions the bigots out there will make.

    Using religion as a means to take away peoples rights and peoples dignity isn’t a valid use of religious principals as I learned them. Some of our politicians have quite a lot to learn.

Thoughtful and Congenial are welcome visitors. Disrespect and Spite will be shown the door.