Appearing yesterday on CNN, Senator Tom Cotton (R) urged critics of Indiana’s “religious freedom” law to get “perspective,” suggesting the treatment of LGBT people in Indiana compared favorably to countries where gay people are executed.
“I think it’s important we have a sense of perspective,” Cotton said. “In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay.”
Cotton is wrong in suggesting that Indiana’s law was the same as the federal law signed by President Clinton in 1993. Indiana’s law has significant differences that made discrimination LGBT people — and general confusion — more likely. This was acknowledged by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R), who refused to sign a bill nearly identical to the one passed in Indiana until it was brought into line with the federal model.
Indiana’s law and the original Arkansas bill has drawn criticism from a diverse range of individuals and corporations including NASCAR, Walmart and the Republican mayor of Indianapolis, among many others.
While Cotton is correct that LGBT people in America are not routinely executed, violence against LGBT Americans remains a significant problem.