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New Laws in Indiana Obstruct Gay Rights

By Shannon MacDonald , Staff Writer

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Most people grow up with the ideology that being straight is the norm—with no real reason behind the belief, other than that’s how it has always been. Now, I’m not saying that all of us have been brought up with the idea that sexuality and gender are set factors—in fact, the only weddings I can remember going to have been gay weddings—but even with the shift in thinking, the rights of the LGBT community still continue to be discussed throughout our country and beyond.

  As of recently, the RFRA laws, which were signed last month by Indiana’s governor Mike Pence, are “religious freedom” laws that have caused controversy due to their discriminatory nature. They are set to be revised so that prejudice against the LGBT community can’t be severe in workplaces. But currently, an employer can deny hiring an applicant because of the employer’s religious views on the applicant’s love life.

Besides the overall discomfort that the public expressed with these laws, the CEO of Salesforce—a global cloud computing company based in San Francisco—has been a loud voice against the unjust laws; Marc Benioff argued that his workers could be negatively affected by the RFRA laws. To the Huffington Post, he said “I’m all for a healthy mind and a healthy body, but I’m also about having a healthy planet and a healthy country and taking care of others that don’t have as much. That’s my spirituality.” His outcry against this has furthered the uproar from many stars in the community. Other technology companies like IBM and Apple, have echoed Benioff.

With work, I’ve always thought of America as the place where you can actually go far – it’s the American dream. These new laws adjust the status quo for the “dream.” Because of laws that are put in place now, it isn’t just your work that matters, but your personal life and identification as well.

Everyone has their own goals and plans for life. Simply because of my sexuality and how I personally identify, in Indiana and other places throughout the world, I could make it farther even though my work ethic could be worse than someone who identifies as gay, bi, lesbian, or transgender. Yes, maybe this could benefit my personal achievements, but it wouldn’t be fair, right, or morally okay. If I accomplish anything, I want to do it in a situation where I know I achieved because I actually deserve it, not because who I choose to have a relationship with is more accepted than a co-worker.

You may not think that this personally affects you, or our state at all, but doesn’t it seem ridiculous that it’s 2015 and people are being affected in their place of work because of who they have relationships with and how they identify?

I know social prejudices cannot be completely broken within only a few years, but I expected for the legal injustices to be abolished by now. The intolerance against the LGBT community won’t  be able to disappear in our society until it isn’t present in our legal system. This is an issue for all of humanity’s progress.

From what of history class I actually pay attention to, I’ve learned that people moved to America for new beginnings and acceptance of differences. Things have obviously changed since then, but the promise of new starts and acceptance hasn’t. The laws in Indiana affect this ideology of America.

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Barnstable High School's Award-Winning Student News Site
New Laws in Indiana Obstruct Gay Rights