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Religious Conservative Groups Lose Again In RFRA Lawsuit

Brandon Smith
IPB News

Indiana religious conservative groups lost again in court Thursday in their multi-year legal battle to discriminate against same-sex couples.

The lawsuit challenges the so-called “fix” to the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. The RFRA fix said the 2015 law’s religious freedom defense couldn’t be used to justify denying service to someone based on characteristics such as age, race, sexual orientation or gender identity.

But the religious conservative groups argued in court that they want to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. And that’s why they said the fix and local anti-discrimination ordinances infringed on their religious beliefs, thus violating the Constitution.

However, a county judge found last year there’s no evidence the groups actively discriminate, nor have any cities tried to assess fines or penalties – and thus the groups had no case. The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed.

“In short,” the appellate court wrote, “the companies remain free, without interference, to express their religious views on marriage and human sexuality as they always have.”

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.