POLITICS

Gay Rights Activist Scoops Up Domain Names Of Indiana Lawmakers Who Voted For 'Religious Freedom' Bill

04/21/2015 01:39 pm ET | Updated Apr 21, 2015

WASHINGTON -- A group of Indiana state legislators who voted for the state's much-maligned "religious freedom" bill now have their domain names redirecting to a site with statistics about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, thanks to an activist who wants the lawmakers to support broader non-discrimination protections.

Konrad Juengling, who lives in Oregon, bought the domain names for Republican State Reps. Martin Carbaugh, Dale Devon, Douglas Gutwein, Kathy Kreag Richardson, Don Lehe and Donna Schaibley. The address DonnaSchaibley.com, for example, now redirects to the site about LGBT issues, which is hosted by the Human Rights Campaign.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed last month, allows any individual or corporation to cite religious beliefs as a defense when sued by a private party. Many opponents of the bill pointed out that because the legislation's language was so broad, it would open the door to widespread discrimination against LGBT individuals.

After significant backlash both within Indiana and nationally, Pence eventually signed a revised version of the measure that made clear businesses could not use RFRA to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The six lawmakers weren't the only ones who voted for RFRA, but Juengling said he chose them because their domain names were available.

Last week, he wrote to them and told them he'd be happy to give them their websites free of charge if they supported a statewide nondiscrimination policy protecting LGBT people.

"If you bring to the floor a nondiscrimination policy protecting LGBT people in Indiana, vote for it, and it is passed, I will happily donate the domains in question to you. I’m sure they’ll come in handy come stumping season," he wrote in his letter, which he shared with The Huffington Post.

He added that he decided to redirect the lawmakers' websites to the LGBT youth statistics to show them that the population that would be affected by RFRA "is already disadvantaged and have less accesses to family, community supports, and healthcare."

"A disproportionate number of homeless youth are LGBT; why would you support a bill that lets organizations turn these people away?" he asked.

A spokeswoman for the Indiana state GOP caucus did not return a request for comment, and Juengling said he has not yet heard back from any of the members.

Pence's approval ratings have dropped significantly since the RFRA controversy, and the state recently hired a public relations firm to help repair its image.

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