Legislators in Indiana and Arkansas were the latest to find out this hard truth. In an increasingly contentious world, it is vital to know that in a policy skirmish, the victors are usually the groups that were most prescient in establishing their question as the focus of debate in the arena where they will fare the best.
In 2016 and beyond, Republicans will find it hard to strike a balance between "religious freedom" and discrimination. They will find it even harder to choose between either "caving" and alienating their base, or alienating the growing majority of voters and facing a grassroots onslaught.
A same sex couple wishing to purchase goods or services for their wedding does not prevent you from practicing your religion and I'm sorry you practicing your religion should not prevent them from getting what they need for their wedding. To me that is very reason for the separation of the Church from the State.
Yes, be proud of our work this week. But there's so much more to do. Don't think our opponents aren't already regrouping and calibrating their next attack, moving on to other states. We cannot fool ourselves, dazzled by the events, into thinking that because we won a media battle, we have won the war.
Legislators who supported this bill and then expressed shock at the very existence of an alternative interpretation of its text and its impact in the real world are now scrambling for their political lives.
Although not written to specifically target LGBT persons, there is now well-grounded concern that such laws will lead to increases in discrimination based on sexual orientation. What message are we sending to our children about their rights and their right to discriminate against others?
Erik Deckers has lived in the state of Indiana for a long time. He and his family all live in Indianapolis, the heart of the state.
This battle is pitting the two wings of the Republican coalition against each other. Social conservatives are being confronted by all kinds of corporate business interests, including the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, of all things. It's taken great skill for Republican leaders to paper over this inherent split, but that day is over.
While business leaders and civil rights groups are right to criticize Indiana's government for allegedly targeting same-sex couples in the state for discrimination under the banner of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), we should not throw RFRA out with the bathwater.
The current debate about religious freedom is already shaping laws and policies that will affect each one of us. Many of these laws and policies are harmful and will have far-reaching consequences that affect the everyday details of our lives that even the supporters of these laws are likely to regret.
The situation in Indiana is upsetting for a lot of reasons. One is the overt discrimination against LGBT individuals the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as currently written, will protect under the law. Another is the utter venality displayed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
Why would a gay person want a wedding cake baked by bigots? I don't think any of us would. I certainly wouldn't. But if it's legal for a business owner to discriminate, like it currently is in Indiana, then wedding cake shoppers have to be on the defense.
The Indiana Republicans got caught leaning way over their skis doing what comes naturally to a lot of Republicans these days; catering to the religious right.
For far-right activists and legislators concerned about marriage equality and other LGBT rights, Hobby Lobby provided the perfect opportunity: Pass state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts and effectively grant a religious-exemption claim from LGBT anti-discrimination laws, based on the Supreme Court's rewriting of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
There have been all sorts of laws, both proposed and enacted, recently that seek to secure and ensure religious freedom, be it in a municipality, a state or nationally. All are unnecessary, and all are probably unconstitutional.
I don't know what religion Mike Pence is, but the Christian religion does not call for tolerance, regardless of what a political party with a persecution complex would have him believe. The Christ of the gospels did not exhort his disciples to "tolerate thy neighbors," but to love them.