17:00 GMT04 March 2021
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    Director of Human Rights Watch’s LGBT Rights Program Graeme Reid said that a bill restoring religious freedom signed in the state of Indiana last week discriminates against LGBT people.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A bill restoring religious freedom signed in the state of Indiana last week discriminates against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people, director of Human Rights Watch’s LGBT Rights Program Graeme Reid said Monday.

    “While the religious freedom law does not explicitly mention sexual orientation, LGBT people have a long history of discrimination justified on religious grounds and are well placed to read between the lines,” Graeme Reid said in a statement released on Human Rights Watch’s website.

    The Religious Freedom Restoration Act adopted last week in Indiana, prohibits the authorities to make a person commit an action if it contradicts his or her religious beliefs. The US News edition gave an example of a baker, who could not be forced to sell a “wedding cake to a gay couple if he objects to their marriage on religious grounds.”

    Graeme Reid stressed that as the text of the bill is vague, it can be freely interpreted in order to justify discrimination.

    On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered outside the Indiana Statehouse to protest against newly introduced freedom religious bill.

    According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 24 religious freedom bills have been introduced in the United States since the beginning of 2015.

    Different advocacy groups also condemn the bill. Chicago advocacy group The Gay Liberation Network spokesperson Andy Thayer told Sputnik that the Indiana Religious Liberty Bill will inflict civil rights abuses on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Queer (LGBTQ) community in the US state of Indiana.

    “The Indiana Religious Liberty Bill is clearly an attack aimed at the LGBTQ community even though the word ‘gay’ doesn’t appear anywhere in the bill,” Thayer said on Monday. “I think they [Indiana government] are being completely insincere in it.”

    Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Indiana Religious Liberty Bill into law on Thursday, which led to an outcry over provisions preventing authorities from forcing a person to commit an action if it contradicts his or her religious beliefs.

    The LBGTQ community claims the provisions could be used to discriminate against their members in places such as businesses and elsewhere.

    Thayer explained the law is no different than what happened to African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

    “Racists opposing civil rights said their religious liberty should allow to discriminate against blacks,” Thayer said.

    “It’s the same tactic they used to oppose the African American Civil Rights movement and racial desegregation in America,” he added.

    Thayer did admit there are differences between the various Civil Rights movements that have taken place in US history.

    “Winning equality doesn’t mean achieving social equality, and this is something we have been saying for the last two years as we move closer to legal equality,” Thayer said.

    With the upcoming US Supreme Court hearing in April to determine whether the US states can ban same sex marriage, Thayer said the LGBTQ rights are truly up in the air.

     

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    religious freedom, LGBT, Human Rights Watch, Indiana, US
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