The Equality Paradigm in Warner v. Boca Raton: Winnifred Sullivan and The Impossibility of Religious Freedom

  • Peter Gottschalk


In early 2015, a political firestorm swept across the news and social media in the United States following the announcement that the state of Indiana’s Republican governor signed into law a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Already enacted in various forms by nineteen states, Indiana’s version — like its predecessors — would be modeled on a national RFRA signed into legislation by Democrat President Clinton in 1993. However, none of these antecedents had stirred a national level of controversy as did Indiana’s. The difference stemmed from a particular moment in America’s culture wars, as conservative Christians sought to hold a defensive line against the rising tide of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-, and Transsexual rights. As increasing numbers of states recognized gay and lesbian marriage laws, some conservative Christians in Indiana — if not the Governor himself — fought to ‘protect’ business owners from having to ‘participate’ in queer marriage ceremonies that they claimed violated their religious sensibilities. In a Reuters-Ipsos poll taken at this time, 28 per cent of respondents across the United States agreed that businesses should have — based on their religious beliefs — the right to refuse service to any individual, while 27 per cent approved of hiring discrimination as well (Holland 2015).


Religious Tradition Expert Witness Religious Freedom Free Exercise Christmas Tree 
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© Peter Gottschalk 2016

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  • Peter Gottschalk

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