Connecticut Is Not IndianaPosted: March 30, 2015 Filed under: General Law | Tags: 52-571b, first amendment, freedom of religion, peyote, rational basis, religious freedom restoration act, strict scrutiny 11 Comments
Last week Indiana enacted a controversial law that many believe is intended to allow individuals, particularly for-profit business owners, to discriminate against persons who identify as LGBT, on the ground that providing services to such persons may burden the provider’s religious convictions. Today, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that he will sign an executive order banning state-funded travel to Indiana. The governor stated, “When new laws turn back the clock on progress, we can’t sit idly by. We are sending a message that discrimination won’t be tolerated.”
In response to the governor’s announcement, some are arguing that Connecticut is being hypocritical because it has its own law, enacted in 1993, that is (allegedly) no different from, or is even worse than, the new Indiana law. (Click here and here for examples of such arguments.)
Are those arguments correct? I think not. Nothing in the text or history of the Connecticut law suggests that the General Assembly intended to allow individuals or business owners to discriminate against members of the LGBT community based on religious beliefs.