Family Groups Lose Case Over Indiana, Cities’ Anti-Discrimination Laws
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. -- Family groups that accused anti-discrimination laws of Indiana, Indianapolis, Carmel, Bloomington, and Columbus of infringing on religious rights have lost their case.
Hamilton Superior Court 1 Judge Michael Casati ruled Thursday against the Indiana Family Institute, Indiana Family Action and the American Family Association of Indiana. He said the groups lacked standing and “ripe claims,” meaning no active cases indicate there is a need for action. The groups oppose same-sex marriage.
The groups’ lawsuit against the communities came after state lawmakers and then-Gov. Mike Pence in March 2015 made the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into law, which drew immediate condemnation, protests, and boycotts from multiple sources for targeting the LGBT community. Proponents argued the law protected the free exercise of religion and freedom of conscience.
After the international uproar over RFRA, Indiana lawmakers and Pence amended the law in April 2015 to provide protection from discrimination of customers, employees, and tenants in certain classes including sexual orientation and gender identity.
The judge did not rule on the merits of the groups’ argument, only that they had not proven any discrimination.
James Bopp Jr., a prominent religious-freedom attorney from Terre Haute, has not indicated if he will appeal the Hamilton County judge’s decision.