Readers React

How to prevent another anti-gay 'religious freedom' law

To the editor: The passage of bills in Indiana, Mississippi and Arkansas that sanction discrimination based on religious freedom demonstrate the dearth of federal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) individuals. ("In conservative Indiana, bemusement amid boycott threats over religious freedom law," March 28)

Boycotting Indiana will not solve this problem. Rather, Congress must make sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes. This would shield the LGBT community from the whims of state governments and ensure that LGBT inhabitants of all states enjoy the same rights.

But the current Congress seems unlikely to vote on anything resembling such legislation. Last year, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) did not even allow for a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill so moderate that some LGBT rights groups opposed it.

This is unfortunate, because no matter what the U.S Supreme Court decides on same-sex marriage, without action by Congress, many states will continue to treat LGBT people as second-class citizens.

Harriet Steele, Studio City

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To the editor: Some in Indiana are baffled by the outpouring of opposition to their state's new so-called religious freedom law.

What's the mystery? After all, there has been an enormous change in the way most Americans view gay rights and same-sex marriage, especially with marriage laws in so many states being revoked in recent years.

At the same time, we have seen businesses refusing to bake a cake or provide a floral arrangement for a same-sex wedding. What other services could they deny and get away with?

So, to a lot of people, Indiana's new law looks like blatant discrimination, plain and simple.

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who vetoed a similar bill, got this one right. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence didn't.

John Batjiaka, Westminster

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To the editor: Thousands rallied at the Indiana statehouse to protest the new "religious liberty law." Pray tell, where were all these people when Pence and his fellow ultra-conservatives were elected in 2012?

Were they too busy to vote? Or did they think their votes wouldn't count?

Maybe the democratic (small d) voters of Indiana and other states will wake up next year, get registered, vote and get the far-right legislators out of office.

Robert Green, Northridge

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