Religious Freedom Restoration Act

An Indiana county court will hear a lawsuit Thursday over the so-called “fix” to the state’s controversial 2015 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA.

Jim Merritt Will Not March at Indy Pride

Jun 6, 2019

Republican mayoral candidate Jim Merritt says he will not march in the Indy Pride parade out of respect for the feelings and wishes of the organizers and participants of the event.

This comes after a statement from Indy Pride on Tuesday which said while Merritt is permitted at the event, he is not welcome.

Barbara Brosher / WFIU/WTIU News


The rain didn’t stop people from coming out to the first Pride Festival in Vice President Mike Pence’s hometown of Columbus Saturday.

The city closed off several blocks of 4th Street for the event, which featured information booths, Pride merchandise and live entertainment.

Gretchen Frazee /

The abrupt death of legislation aimed at balancing religious freedom with gay, lesbian and bisexual civil rights left many civil rights advocates surprised, disappointed and pointing fingers as they sought to assign blame.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Drew Daudelin reports that finger-pointing could have a ripple effect on this year’s elections as people on all sides of the issue begin looking ahead to the May primary and November general elections.

Brandon Smith /

The Indiana Senate killed a bill Tuesday that would have protected lesbian, gay, and bisexual Hoosiers from discrimination.

The final version of the bill did not protect the transgender community. 

The proposed measure had 27 potential amendments filed on the Senate floor. 

But none of them were publicly discussed after Senate Republican leadership opted not to call the bill to the floor for a vote.

Brandon Smith /

Two groups among the state’s most outspoken opponents of LGBTQ civil rights laws are challenging a law enacted by the state legislature, as well as ordinances adopted by the cities of Carmel and Indianapolis.

The Indiana Family Institute and the American Family Association of Indiana on Thursday filed a lawsuit that claims, among other things, the state and local laws violate the groups’ religious liberties.

Gretchen Frazee / WFIU

Former Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle is launching an advocacy organization to push for a statewide LGBT civil rights law next year. Oesterle was one of the most high-profile critics of Governor Mike Pence and Republican lawmakers when they passed the religious freedom bill known as RFRA.

Oesterle left his post atop Angie’s List earlier this year to refocus on civic engagement – and reemerged with the launch of Tech for Equality.  He says the group will bring the voices of Indiana’s tech community to the legislature to advocate for LGBT civil rights.

Steve Baker /

Wednesday‘s announcement of a nine-year commitment from the Future Farmers of America, or FFA, is Indianapolis‘s first big score in the convention market since the religious-freedom controversy.

But officials say they need more data before they can assess whether the RFRA storm has passed.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard says he believes the city and state have taken the right steps to prevent more damage, with legislators following RFRA with a bill declaring it can‘t be used to justify discrimination.

Gretchen Frazee /

Leaders of an LGBT Christian group holding its annual conference in Indianapolis despite the passage of RFRA earlier this year says they want the governor and lawmakers to hear from a Christian community supportive of gay, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people.

Several months ago, The Evangelical Network decided to move its conference from Nashville to Indianapolis.  And when the controversy over Indiana’s RFRA law erupted, organization president Todd Ferrell says there was lots of pressure – including from those planning to attend – to move the event out of Indiana.

Steve Baker /

Plans for the first service of the First Church of Cannabis could go up in smoke if anyone partakes of the namesake drug. Marijuana legalization activist Bill Levin  started his church on the day Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, and says he plans to hold the church’s first service on July 1.

"I'll give a short sermon, I mean real short, and do church announcements the way you’re supposed to do," Levin says. "Then we’ll all rise, read the deity dozen, and at the end of the deity dozen we will celebrate life and light up."