The Debate on Indiana’s RFRA Reaches Chattanooga

Protests and debates are only growing in pitch across the country regarding the passing of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Local business owners and the community talked with News 12 Tuesday about the controversial law.

"I believe that a person has their own personal rights as to what they believe," said Dale Wilson who owns Blue Ivy Flowers in Chattanooga.  "And being a small business owner I believe we hold the right to be able to make those decisions ourselves without the state or government coming in and telling us what we can or cannot do."

Wilson supports the Indiana RFRA which has caused a firestorm of protests around the country.

The law protects businesses from discrimination lawsuits should they choose not to serve LGBT people because of religious beliefs.

The debate is so intense, the New York governor just banned non-essential travel to Indiana that uses public funds.

"I think that it’s going to damage a lot of businesses and drive a lot of people away, and limit their clientele base," Jonathan Meyer of Chattanooga said. "Most people, even if it’s not their preference, will view these businesses poorly and probably go elsewhere to those who are a bit more understanding."

"If you really want to reject someone’s business, I think you should be able to, because it’s really important to be able to value your own religion and really stand by it," Hannah Garo of Asheboro, North Carolina said.

"If you look at it for private business owners, it’s actually a good thing because they can choose how they want to do it," said Matt Webster of Cleveland, Tenn.

Georgia has been set to vote on this very law for weeks; however, the debate got so heavy and the backlash so intense in Indiana, they decided to table the vote until further notice.

Businesses that cater to weddings are at the eye of the storm and one local hairstylist shares her personal opinion.

"I do have several gay clients whom I love very much," said Amanda Sneed. "I do hair for the business. I love the business. I’m in business to make money. They pay me. I would never turn them away for a service. I don’t feel like at this moment I would do that. The only time I would turn someone away is if their hair was a hot mess and I couldn’t do anything with it. That’s when I’d turn them away."

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