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By Kate Aronoff April 3, 2015
There was a showdown this week in Indiana and it had nothing to do with the Final Four — well, almost. Last Friday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law Senate Bill 101, also known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. While most of the bill’s language consisted of relatively benign legal protections for religious groups, it also would have safeguarded small businesses and corporations alike in refusing business to customers based on their sexual orientation — providing a claim, as well, in lawsuits brought by private citizens. The bill’s definition of religious freedom was so broad as to allow individuals to declare a religion of one and use it as legal grounding in court. A similar law, HB1228, was passed on Tuesday in Arkansas, and drew similar — if less acute — ire.