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tv   Talk to Al Jazeera  Al Jazeera  March 31, 2015 5:30am-6:01am EDT

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the park will finally be known for its unique attractions and not as a bitter reminder of the excessive rule. i'm with al jazeera, western philippines. you can find out more about the day's top stories on the al jazeera [ ♪♪ ] indiana recently joined the parade of states passing a version of the religious freedom restoration act. the blow-back has been more ferocious than in missouri. corporations are cutting back or threatening to pull out of the state. now there's pressure on the n.c.a.a. to move its indianapolis headquarters and not bring the final four to the state's biggest city either. we'll look at the law's intention and possible costs. we have decided to serve up piping hot conversation no
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matter who you are, in full harmony with my conscience. it's "inside story". welcome to "inside story". i'm ray suarez. indiana governor mike pens appeared on "this week with george stefanopolous", and was peppered with questions about the law which he insisted was in harmony with the freedom and restoration act tined by parliament. he insisted signing it was the right thing to do, but wouldn't answer a straightforward question, would it be legal to discriminate against gays and lesbians in public accommodation. in declining our invitation to be part of the discussion, the governor's staff sent a
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statement: people, religious denominations like the disciples of crist, angie's lift and conventions like gen come have publicly announced announced intentions not to expand, spend money or schedule events in indiana. apple c.e.o. tim cook, openly gay, and chief of a powerful country called laws like this a bad idea are in an op-ed in the wopt "the washington post."
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does it stand up to a cost benefit analyse to indiana. we are joined by cuttize smith, president of the indiana family newt, and zach adamson, a member of the indianapolis city council who opposes it. curtis, what does this law change. what was possible before in indiana, that is not now that the bill has become law, or what does this prevent from happening that was a concern for you and others in the state? >> what it changes it the court's standard. when the state court has given a liberty case, they have to use strict scrutiny. it's true today in every federal court in america, and 30 other states. we wanted to elevate religious liberty. you may wonder why this is important. last summer the u.s. supreme court decided the so-called hobby lobby case, where the
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company was given an exemption from giving abortion causing drugs, using rifra, we would have thought some other statute, but they said rifra was the key. e looked and thought the court says it will grow in importance, so we need it here in indiana, we have. it's a good law. >> what activities fall under the umbrella of the law? >> sure, not in the united states, we haven't had one, in texas, a native american was not forced to cut his hair to comply with a dress code. hair length - that was an element of his native american religious community. in kansas, a woman, a jehovah's witness wanted a liver transplant, but wanted one without blood transfusions. nebraska could do it, but had a medicaid rule saying we can't
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spend money in another state. she, unfortunately passed away. if they had an rifra that state legislation would have been swept awry. a prisoner in arkansas was allowed to have a nicely shaven and cared for beard as part of the islamic faith even though the department of correction said no hair at all. in philadelphia, they wanted to give food to people in a park. the city didn't like it. three or more cannot be fed in one time in a park in philadelphia. rifra took it away. it's important to know, not one rifra case was used for same-sex. no one can give us the name of one bern who had their actions undone by a court. no court anywhere accepted that
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as a defense. >> the kinds of cases you heard curtis mention are the cases that gave birth to the first riff ra law federally in the 1990s, isn't it? >> yes, but it's important to note that all of those cases. none of them involve public accommodations. as we noticed in the george stefanopolous interview with governor pens, he was uncomfortable, and it was telling the response,ate times that he was asked in relation to lesbians. >> what do you think is more likely to happen now that people read and digested what the law means for them. i am not aware of cases involving trimming beards or blood transfusions. but you appear to think it has a
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wider application than the ones outlined by curtis smith. >> i think the overwhelming issue at hand is indiana indianapolis has an ordnance protecting l.g.b.t. in employment, housing and accommodations. this puts risk. >> i disagree, if i can jump in. >> sure. >> courts say the state has a compelling - zack serves on the city council. that's the legislative body. that's the community's will. that's a demonstration of a compelling interest. rarely do religious beliefs get mixed in with commerce. it can happen. selling hamburgers and cupcakes doesn't rise to someone's deeply held sincerely held beliefs. that's why there's not many of these cases and they rarely involve public accommodation, commerce. it can happen.
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rare. >> a lot of attention to the law, and a lot of legal commentary on it goes to when and whether the government gets involved. it interposes itself between the relations - the daily relations between citizens. why is that a key factor here? when is the government in, when is it out? >> well, i mean, the whole point of having a human rights ordnance in our city is to have the government involved in preventing discrimination that our state laws do not prevent. the involvement of the state or the government is very much at play in our human rights ordnance. independent. >> kurdish - a lot of commentators paid attention to the fact that this began, the effort to get the law began after independent's leadership lost the battle in indiana over same-sex marriage.
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is there any significance to the of. >> just a little bit. the true inference is the growing rifra, and the way the current supreme court is interpreting the amendment. they wanted it gutted in 1990 for these things, and the congress stood up. people like ted kennedy said no. shuma said no. clinton signed the law. all we have done is give ourselves a standard adopted in 30 states and every court in america. it's not about same-sex marriage or individual relationships or commerce and religious beliefs - rarely they are in the mix together. it cap happen. it's rare. >> just to close with the two gentlemen, i capt you to weigh-in on a fundamental part
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of the state. is the benefit of this law potential to be a lose. comments from you both, starting with the council men. >> i believe perception is everything. the city council, controlled by the democrats and the republican mayor, the one change we agreed on is our desire to attract the best and the brightest to the city. this is, by overwhelming margins tells us that. corporations and tech-savvy corporations don't want to relocated employees. the perception is this creates a society that is unwelcoming, but putting employees at risk. i don't believe the need outweighs the cost. it costs indiana, and the city of cip. >> same question. >> you won't be surprised that i disagree.
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it's unfortunate what happened, and it's harmed indianapolis and indiana. i blamed the other side. we pass a standard for courtroom disputes between individuals when government is at the heart of the matter. and suddenly we are unwelcoming, inhospitable place on the eve of the final four when my son played here. it's outrageous and crazy. we want everyone to come to indiana, we wam all. who is the hospitality, it's earnt every day, it's not a slogan. i put that at a higher value than economic interest. >> i would just like to add one thing. i would be able to believe that a lot easier if every member or supporter of the proposal that passed was an avid supporter of the marriage discrimination amendment that they tried to put into the constitution - it's the same people doing the same thing. they can't tell us this has nothing to do with
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lesbians. >> thank you both for joining me. as governor pens and many supporters pointed out, the u.s. and a lot of states have laws drafted to protect the free exercise of religion without a burden imposed by the state. they wondered out loud why indiana's laws are get getting attention. there are differences, we'll talk about them. stay with us, it's "inside
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welcome back to "inside story" on al jazeera america. i'm ray suarez. today on the programme a look at the indiana religious freedom restoration act. it's been signed into law by governor mike pence and endorsed and criticized in the days since. the united states has an
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r.i.f.r.a. law as do some 20 other states. we have given wide acceptance to the idea of personal conscience and been hands off in legally trying to define religious orthodoxy. the indiana r.i.f.r.a. is hands off in the language saying: said simply, the individual gets to define his or her religious
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activity, and decides when an activity for him or herself represents what the law calls a substantial burden to their free exercise of human belief. the human rights watch campaign spearheaded efforts across the county, and jason rawlin joins me in washington. does this law differ from ones that are operating right now in other states? >> absolutely. this is the most sweeping, dangerous r.i.f.r.a. law on the state level that we have seen since the religious freedom restoration act was passed by congress in 1993. >> why is it so? >> one provision that concerns us is it enables for-profit business to free exercise of religion in dealings with employers and customers. >> that was the phrase i read before. in this case, it's complete ownership or a substantial position. so you could be part owner of a hotel or a restaurant, let's
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say, and be able to discriminate between your customers. >> absolutely. it's right. part of the challenge with this law in indiana is there are five - there are no specific state level civil right laws that protect l.g.b.t. people. there are five cities that have protections for employees, for those in areas of housing and public accommodations, and these exemptions allow the businesses a licence to discriminate. >> i imagine this is offensive to you, and you don't like it and it's a problem for you. under the language of hobby lobby, doesn't the indiana r.i.f.r.a. live comfortably. under that supreme court ruling, is the indiana legislator and the governor free to go ahead with something like this? >> hobby lobby was specifically and narrowly defined to closely held corporations. the independent division is
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broad. corporation. >> i hear the problems of people who are reacting in horror to the law and look to the other states that have similar laws on the books, and you are not seeing the terrible possible consequences, the theoretical consequences of a law like this. wear in a place like this, do you see the cases you threaten in indiana. >> let me give you examples of instances in which individuals cited religious freedom laws to refuse protection or discriminate against individuals. we saw a police officer in salt lake city saying he was not going to police a gay rights parade because he felt it struck against his believes against homosexual assaultee. we saw an instance involving a mosque in another state.
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we are empowering individuals seeking the right to discriminate against their fellow citizens, the opportunity to do that under the law didn't the cop in question in utah get in trouble for doing that, refusing a direct order from a superior. >> he did, we have many states that are considering r.i.f.r.a. bills further empowering individuals like the police officer to go further, and not only that, make sure that they feel they can make the actions and decisions in circumstances where case law is not clear. >> various republican legislators in the intind state house -- indiana state house say they want to go back to the drawing board, narrow it, make it more precise. law. >> we belief a fix to the bill is possible. two critical pieces are essential.
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the first is exempting civil rights laws, the state's civil rights laws from being impacted by the bill. the second is adding in protections for l.g.b.t. at the state level. unemployment, housing and accommodation. if the drive beyond this is to protect people of faith and not harm l.g.b.t. that would demonstrate itself in effect. >> it's been noted that indiana had little in the way of civil rights laws of this kind for any protected class, not just l.g.b.t. people. >> that's right. i think that will change. it's something in the long course of history more and more we see states considering enacting these. this will be a flashpoint and we hope that legislators consider adding those protections. >> if you sit in a state house, you may not have the n.c.a.a. final four, or angie's list in
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your state or hiring more people. what should be the caution for you. what do you have to be careful about if you want to protect free exercise. >> what folks have to be most careful about is the economic impact in some of these states. we have seen a backlash among business leaders. tim cook wrote an op-ed staying that this wave of legislation, anti-l.g.b.t. legislation is popping up in places across the country. we see r.i.f.r.a.'s in georgia and arkansas, and see the reaction from businesses - business owners and leaders and the tech center. saying that we don't intend advancing further business interests in that state. jason raw line, of the human rights campaign. thank you for joining us. >> we may be approaching the final hours of the p5 plus
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plus germany over iran's nuclear programme. they may be looking at shipping parts out of the country. we look at why this is an important part of the talks. that's still ahead on "inside >> "the stream". >> your digital community. >> you pick the hot topics and express your thoughts. "the stream", it's your chance to join the conversation. tuesday to friday, 3:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america.
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the hours left in the active participation of the united states in nuclear talks with iran are, if you believe the american delegation, are dwindling to a precious few. word leaked that the islamic republic withdrew an offer to ship the goods out of the country into the custody of a third country, believed to be russia. iran insisted on keeping it in the country - sounds like a deal breaker at first blush. especially with the news coming this close to the deadline. what does it mean. why is it important in the context of the hay stakes talks between the five permanent members of the security council,
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germany and iran. jim walsh, research associate and security studies, and al jazeera america contributor. help us understand why this is a key part of the negotiations. >> well, it's good to keep focus on the end objective, and that is, in this case, to make sure that iran didn't have a big pile of enridged environment. so it could grab the big pile. enrich it from 3-5% up to 80-90%, and have enough for a nuclear weapon. the objective is not to leave a lot laying around. one way to deal with it is to ship it off. there are other ways to deal with it. >> is shipping it out of the country bringing a third party into the agreement in a way that doing? >> yes, i think that's right.
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they have done that before. they shipped material to russia before, and the russians were the country or the group that helped build the nuclear power plant. the reactor, and kept them on the ground. it's good to have a lot of players here, engaging the iranians in the nuclear programme, having eyes and ears on the ground. it's all helpful. >> help us understand how much stuff you need for a bomb. when you sit thousands of miles away and you hear about the septemberry uges -- septemberry finals spin are -- sent fuges spinning away hour after hour, you don't know if you are focus on tonnes or what. >> you can lose the big picture. what you need is a softball size amount of highly enriched uranium.
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you take it at 3.5%, and you put it back and keep putting it back until it's higher and higher concentration. this is where context is important. no one in the history of the nuclear age busted out to build a bomb. it doesn't get you far. if you take the material and test it, you don't have material left over. i wouldn't get too hung up on the particulars. the real issue, the reason it will work or won't work is if there are inspectors, allowed to have access to the enrichment plant, under a joint plan of access. we have been operating under an agreement - the international atomic agency had eyes and ears on the facilities and reports on them. that's the crucial piece to limit the degree of enrichment.
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that is nothing behind 5% and making it's owning observed. >> is there a risk of a cat and mouse game if iran is allowed to keep more material inside the boarders of the country? >> yes and no. theoretically, that is possible. remember, that material is under safeguards, as it is today. so let's say they produce some amount of material, sitting in a room somewhere. the international atomic energy comes, it's verified - hasn't been touched, moved or played with. iran could build a secret ability. it's a theoretical possibility, but iran is the most watched country if the world. the israelis watch it, the south, the french. and our intelligence community is confident that there are no secret facilities, they figure
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it out. the main thing here is transparency. it would be best if they had no nuclear programme, no nuclear material at all. but that - we don't live in that world, it's a perfect world we don't live in. the question is whether this agreement does a good enough job. i personally don't think it iranians will sign a big agreement, and then violate it. >> jim walsh of m.i.t. and al jazeera. thank you for being with us. >> the parties to the talks have been negotiating for 18 months. the u.s.-imposed deadline for a deal in principle is tomorrow. we'll watch what happens and talk about next steps one way or the other on our programme tuesday. that's it for this edition of "inside story". get in touch on facebook, follow us on twitter. on corey washington, i'm
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ray ♪ >> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ hello and welcome to the news hour i'm in doha with the top stories on al jazeera, a camp for displaced yemen hit on the fifth day of saudi-led air strikes in yemen. russia's foreign minister says he will return to the iran nuclear talks in switzerland with a deal just hours away. vote counting resumes as africa's largest democracy weights for results.