Fixing the First Amendment

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence

Apparently, Gov. Pence and Republican state legislators thought they could improve on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

We all love freedom of religion. As a rule, we don’t construe this as a license to be a bigot.

Now Pence and GOP leaders are scrambling to insist that the religious freedom bill they just passed without a public hearing doesn’t really mean that your business can refuse service to gays and lesbians. Oddly, a lot of people, including prominent business leaders and college presidents, understand the new law to mean exactly that.

By passing this law our Republican leaders have managed to put our state on the front pages of the nation’s major newspapers. The stories hardly present Indiana in a flattering light.

Roger Fisher, the late Harvard expert on negotiations, had the perfect formula for avoiding something so stupid: ACBD or “Always consult before deciding.”

It seems our state leaders missed that simple lesson.

They might well be able to fix the law. That’s now the plan. I can’t imagine how they’ll fix the damage they’ve done to Indiana’s reputation.

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