After severe backlash, Indiana lawmakers will amend the state's controversial "religious freedom" law so that it prohibits LGBT customers from being discriminated against. Last week, Governor Mike Pence signed into law the Religion Freedom Restoration Act which gives businesses — including restaurants, bars, and coffee shops — the right to turn away LGBT customers. Now, according to USA Today, lawmakers have re-evaluated the wording of the act.
The revised law will grant new and explicit "protections for LGBT customers, employees, and tenants." The NY Daily News quotes Indiana's Republican Senate President Pro Tempore David Long as saying: "The new law will unequivocally state in the strongest possible terms that Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act will not be able to discriminate against anyone, anywhere, anytime." Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma adds that the state values "gays, straights, blacks, whites, religious and non-religious... We value each and every Hoosier."
While many companies — including large restaurant chains — spoke out against the law, some Indiana restaurateurs embraced the discrimination. One restaurant owner — who chose to remain anonymous — declared on a local radio station that he has been discriminating against LGBT customers for years and is glad there is now a law to justify his actions.
News broke yesterday that a pizza parlor in the state became the first business to publicly deny service to LGBT customers since the law was passed. The owners of Memories Pizza proclaimed that if a gay couple wanted to order pizzas from the restaurant for their wedding, they would say no because it allegedly violates "their Christian faith." Shortly after the restaurant declared its support for the law, its Yelp page was inundated with negative reviews and the restaurant was forced to temporarily shutter over threats it received.