New state laws opening the door to discrimination against same-sex couples are here to stay—but that doesn't mean they'll work.
Even if (and likely when) the Supreme Court rules this summer that same-sex marriage must be legal nationwide, same-sex couples are already facing a new patchwork of state laws that could make it easier for businesses, employers, and landlords to turn them away.
Indiana last week became the latest state to pass a law that would make it easier for businesses to refuse to serve same-sex couples, based on their religious beliefs. Although Gov. Mike Pence denied that the law would open the door to discrimination.
But legal experts say opposition to same-sex marriage is the reason these laws are suddenly cropping up in state legislatures—and it's why Indiana's law has spurred such an enormous backlash, with big businesses and organizations, including the NCAA, calling for a boycott of the state.
Unlike many culture-war state initiatives whose fate will be decided in the Supreme Court—state laws banning same-sex marriage or restricting abortion access being the highest profile—the latest measures aren't likely to draw serious legal challenges, several experts said. Even though state legislators have said they're responding to the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage, the statutes themselves don't explicitly mention any particular group of people or protect any particular form of discrimination.