In 1993, President Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. Over the next two decades, 19 states followed with similar laws. Supporters say they further protect the right of religious expression. Opponents argue some of these laws would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Amid a firestorm of protests this week, Indiana announced it would make changes to its new law. And yesterday, Arkansas’ Republican governor refused to sign a similar bill, citing concerns about discrimination. Diane and guests discuss debate over religious freedom laws, civil rights and implications for the GOP.
- Garrett Epps Professor of law, University of Baltimore; contributing writer and Supreme Court correspondent, TheAtlantic.com, and author of “To an Unknown God: Religious Freedom on Trial (2001) and "American Justice 2014: Nine Clashing Visions on the Supreme Court."
- Ron Elving Senior Washington editor, NPR.
- Sarah Warbelow Legal director, Human Rights Campaign.
- Edward Whelan President, Ethics and Public Policy Center and contributor to National Review Online Bench Memos blog; former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Map: Religious Freedom Restoration Acts Nationwide
Indiana is just one of 20 states that have adopted their own versions of the federal law since 1993.