For immediate release:
April 2, 2015
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath from Michigan City today issued the following statement about the “compromise” version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) passed in the Indiana General Assembly:
“A true 'fix' would have started by wiping away this blight. It is insufficient to the grave task at hand.
“If we are to decisively end the economic chaos that has come to our state as a result of this act, then any answer had to have started by repealing RFRA entirely.
“Then we could have started the hard work of building protections for the original targets of this law and healing our state's battered image.
“Instead, this 'fix' will be a platform for more divisive debates and mistrustful confusion when crystal clarity is in order.
“This is what should be done: RFRA must be repealed, followed by prompt passage of specific civil rights protections.
“Today’s action will be portrayed by its desperate advocates as a grand compromise, but I’m quite sure no one will look at what has happened and be reminded of the wisdom of Solomon.
“Those who embarked on this cynical campaign to tell others how to live their lives will consider this a betrayal. Those who were the focus of its punitive nature will continue to fear some still consider them second-class citizens.
“Perhaps this legislation will send away the national media for the time being. Maybe it will numb the most desperate worries of a few in the state's business community.
“But the damage has been done. The law will remain on the books, and the out-of-touch and backward motives behind the law will remain.
"We remain stuck in the past at a time when the rest of the world is moving forward with greater concerns than caring about who loves whom.
“The shame of this is that it all could have been avoided. We didn’t need to do this, but political arrogance gave safe harbor to the zealotry of a few. The lasting image for many will be of a governor who doesn’t appear to be interested in governing, only pandering.
“Again I say: I hope it was worth it.”
[Hear some of Rep. Pelath's statements regarding this "fix" in a 25-second mp3 clip.]