Noah Rothman: Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy Embarrasses Himself with Indiana RFRA Tantrum

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Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy revealed that he will prohibit all state-sponsored travel to this heretical member of the Union. He joins the mayor of Seattle, who also blocked city-funded travel to Indiana in protest over this perfectly banal law.

Noah Rothman writes: The frenzied outpouring of disproportionate outrage from the left over Indiana’s state-level version of the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act can be best described as a tantrum.

[Read the full text here, at Hot Air]

A number of firms including Apple and Angie’s List Inc. have announced that they will respond to the legislation that critics insist is designed to discriminate against gays and lesbians by reviewing their commitments to do business in the state. A cornucopia of liberal groups are organizing a boycott of all things Hoosier. And, on Monday, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy revealed that he will prohibit all state-sponsored travel to this heretical member of the Union. He joins the mayor of Seattle, who also blocked city-funded travel to Indiana in protest over this perfectly banal law.

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“This law, like other RFRAs, merely requires that state laws meet a demanding, but hardly insurmountable, test before infringing upon the religious practice or conscience of religious believers.”

— The Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blogger Jonathan Adler

This reaction is nothing short of an embarrassment for the left and a repudiation of the values that the Democratic Party espoused as recently as the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton signed a national version of this act into law.

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“RFRA is a shield, not a sword. It can be used to defend oneself against lawsuits or administrative action. It can’t be used affirmatively to try and deprive others of the protections of law.”

— Attorney Gabriel Malor, The Federalist

The hypocrisy exhibited by the left in this display of childish pique over Indiana’s RFRA bill is impossible to ignore.

“[W]hile Indiana is being criticized, the NCAA didn’t say it was concerned over how athletes and employees would be affected by Kentucky’s RFRA when games were played there last week, there aren’t any plans to tall-surprise-faceboycott states like Illinois or Connecticut, and Miley Cyrus has yet to post a photo of President Clinton or any of the 19 other governors who have also signed RFRAs,” The Washington Post’s Hunter Schwarz wrote. “Indiana might be treated as if it’s the only state with a bill like this, but it’s not.”

“Malloy’s absurd response to the Indiana law is, no doubt, an effort to distract his liberal constituents from the fact that Connecticut’s RFRA law – yes, they have one, too – goes farther than the act signed last week by Governor Mike Pence.”

“This law, like other RFRAs, merely requires that state laws meet a demanding, but hardly insurmountable, test before infringing upon the religious practice or conscience of religious believers,” observed The Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blogger Jonathan Adler. “If the law imposes a substantial burden on religious belief, the law must yield unless the law serves a compelling state interest and is the least burdensome way to advance that interest.”

Malloy’s absurd response to the Indiana law is, no doubt, an effort to distract his liberal constituents from the fact that Connecticut’s RFRA law – yes, they have one, too – goes farther than the act signed last week by Gov. Mike Pence.

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The Federalist’s Sean Davis makes the case:

Connecticut’s law, however, is far more restrictive of government action and far more protective of religious freedoms. How? Because the Connecticut RFRA law states that government shall not “burden a person’s exercise of religion[.]” Note that the word “substantially” is not included in Connecticut’s law.

The effect of the absence of that single word is enormous…(read more)

That seems straightforward enough. Still have questions? Over at The Federalist, attorney Gabriel Malor answers all of your pressing inquiries. The most substantive assertion that he makes, however, is that all RFRA’s do not and cannot license discrimination.

“RFRA is a shield, not a sword,” Malor noted. “It can be used to defend oneself against lawsuits or administrative action. It can’t be used affirmatively to try and deprive others of the protections of law.”

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway remarked that the 1993 Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, authored by congressional Democrats and signed into law by a Democratic president, has actually helped a number of religious minorities receive justice after being….(read more)

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