In early March, Indiana passed a bill that allowed discrimination against LGBTQ people because of religious beliefs.
The law stated that it can, “Prohibit(s) a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”
All eight of the Shepherd University students interviewed were shocked by the new law.
“I am disturbed by this law. Didn’t we already go over this in 1964? I can understand a preacher not wanting to marry a homosexual couple based on his religious beliefs but refusing service in a professional establishment because someone doesn’t agree with a customer’s sexual orientation? That’s outrageous,” Melanie Williams, a senior mass communications major, said.
Patricia Hawkins, an English major at Shepherd, said, “I think it’s screwed up. I would never refuse service to someone based on his or her sexual orientation. I don’t think you could put whatever else that I have to say in the paper.”
“I think the law is unnecessary. Things like this could just lead to a more divided nation like slavery caused. I would like to think the law is enacted for religious reasons. However, that doesn’t mean shop owners won’t abuse the power,” Mike Goldbeck, a sophomore communications major, said.
Other Shepherd students had a strong reaction to the idea of the law in Indiana.
“Personally, I think its crap. It’s a cop out. If they were really going off of turning away people based on religious beliefs, there are plenty of other people/groups they would have to turn away. Anyone who mixes clothes, eats certain foods, a woman on her period, someone who drinks. There are a ton of other ‘religious beliefs’ being broken by their customers daily. The law is just a way for them to focus in on something that makes them uncomfortable and use religion to back themselves up. I think the law should be changed because it makes absolutely no sense that a person who is not doing anything to harm you isn’t allowed in your store. It’s so counterproductive to what America is supposed to stand for and actually really embarrassing and a huge step backwards, in my opinion. It’s scarily similar to the beginning of Jim Crow Laws,” Isabel Paterson, a junior graphic design major, said.
Merick Humbert, an English major at Shepherd, said, “There should be no law that gives people the right to discriminate against anyone. I think it’s ridiculous that I have to even say that. It disgusts me that people wanted the ability to do that. It makes me angry when I think about how narrow minded some people are.”
Other students had less strong opinions, but were still against the law.
“The new law passed in Indiana is absolutely appalling. To deny people just for their sexual preference is idiotic. For those who say that the shop owners are expressing their right to religion are only trying to cover up the fact that they are homophobic. Religion is all about love and acceptance, not discrimination,” Stacy Mummert, a freshman English major, said.
“”I think it’s wrong. My issue with it is, I respect religious freedom but it shouldn’t cover treating others well,” Scot Morin, a senior education major, said.
“I think the law is once again diminishing the potential that the United States has and it should be changed because it’s not right to allow business owners to discriminate against gay people,” Leandra Rosencrance, a senior photography major, said.
At the beginning of April, leaders in Indiana announced that the law would be changed so there will not be discrimination against LGBTQ people any longer.