Indiana has been more than the “crossroads of America” — it’s been the crossroads of the entire religious liberty debate. Since early last year, when Democrats and moderate Republicans destroyed a perfectly good law with a “fix” that took away that diluted the rights of Christians in favor of those who want to force the public to celebrate their sexual preferences.
Now, almost a year after Indiana’s top leaders were waving a white flag of surrender, conservative legislators stepped forward and foiled an effort designed to further promote harmful sexual behavior at the expense of religious liberty.
Under a measure called SB 344, people living in places like Columbus, Indiana could have been fined up to $50,000 for refusing to violate their conscience on things like genderless bathrooms or same-sex marriage. Taking a page out of the Utah playbook, legislators called the bill a “compromise,” when all it really did is leave out the true victims: men and women of faith.
That didn’t fool Hoosiers, who were more than ready to take on the fight after the betrayal by their leaders the year before—and seeing the success of communities like Houston’s. Despite a fierce back and forth between the two sides, no one refused to budge on the language. Earlier this week, Democrats offered a last-minute deal to give up the genderless bathroom and locker room access in exchange for giving people who identify as transgenders special protections.
Conservatives said no. “I cannot move these walls that are on the right and the left hand,” the bill’s author complained, “because nobody wants to give. Nobody wants to move.”
Eventually, flooded with calls and emails from constituents like you, Republicans threw in the towel and pulled the bill without even a vote. Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R) blamed the unwillingness to negotiate on its failure and promised to bring the issue back next year. We’ll be ready, said conservative groups like the Indiana Family Institute and the American Family Association of Indiana, who cheered the win for common sense. As the dust settles, most Hoosiers hope the rest of the country now sees: in the battle between religious liberty and sexual behavior, there’s no such thing as compromise. In the meantime, we congratulate and thank everyone who joined our efforts to stop the attack on Indiana’s first freedom!
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.