In their defense of Indiana's anti-LGBT "religious freedom" law, Fox News is promoting its characteristic, agenda driven misinformation. It started last week on Gretchen Carlson's show. This morning, alleged news host Martha MacCallum engaged in more of the same.
After playing video of Indiana Governor Mike Pence's defending the bill on ABC's "Face the Nation" show, MacCallum began by misrepresenting the situation. She claimed that "this law was enacted, the federal law" during the Clinton administration "so that it exists already across the country." She added that "it already exists in 19 states...to back it up." She asked "why is this becoming such a political firestorm now that Indiana has done the same thing."
David Goodfriend, former deputy staff secretary to Pres. Clinton, said that the difference is how the law will be applied and, as such, a number of businesses are objecting to the bill. MacCallum said that she didn't know how he "could spin that forward." After she read a section of the law pertaining to religious freedom, she asked right wing, Town Hall writer Katie Pavlich if it's true that the law will facilitate anti-LGBT discrimination.
Not suprisingly Pavlich said it isn't true. In advancing the Fox/right wing persecuted Christian meme, she whined about how "we've come to a very dangerous point that when you decide to practice your freedom of religion, which is embedded in the Constitution...that is now somehow turned into discrimination which isn't the case." She made the false claim that the law's language is "pretty much identical" to the federal RFRA. She described the reaction as "hysterical outcry not based on fact" and whined about how those wanting to practice their religion are being branded as bigots. (Ya think?!)
MacCallum grunted in agreement and cited a former judge who claims that the Indiana law is just fine. She didn't mention that Michael McConnell is a conservative who opposes Roe and wrote a brief in support of Hobby Lobby. She noted that Pence's people will help Indiana citizens understand the law.
Goodfriend explained that courts have upheld the concept that not every religious practice, like polygamy, can be legally upheld using the religious freedom argument. He asserted that this controversy reflects a conflict within the Republican Party and could have ramifications in the next election. Pavlich, again, alluded to the federal RFRA and how it was bi-partisan. MacCallum interjected that "so many people agreed on it" because "it does protect the right to take these issues to court and does not include, according to the letter of the actual law, any protection of discrimination against anybody."
Fact Check - The federal RFRA is Not the same as the Indiana law. There is also a difference between the Indiana law and the other state laws. These statutes apply "to disputes between a person or entity and a government" while the Indiana law is "the only law that explicitly applies to disputes between private citizens." As reported in an Indiana newspaper, "with Indiana not having a statewide nondiscrimination law that protects sexual orientation and gender identity, the RFRA issue has become tightly intertwined with LGBT issues."
But Martha MacCallum says it's all good, nothing to see here, move along. Fox News, "fair & balanced" as always!