Jon Stewart returned to the Daily Show last night with a cutting segment on Indiana’s “religious liberty” debacle. In case you missed the fracas, Gov. Mike Pence signed a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” on March 26 that was widely interpreted to allow businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ customers; after a weeklong national backlash led by corporations and activists, the legislature was forced last Thursday to pass an addendum, clarifying that such discrimination was not authorized by the law. While the change was praised, perhaps overzealously, as a “fix,” similar RFRA-like bills are cropping up in state legislatures around the country.
Stewart’s segment bypassed the legal intricacies of these laws and instead went straight for the hypocrisy at their core. Responding to a predictable statement from Mike Huckabee decrying “militant” gay activists, Stewart was searing: “So when gays want equality, it's militancy; but when Christians want to deny service, it’s freedom.” He went on to note the shameful tendency of RFRA supporters to compare gay couples seeking to shop in neighborhood businesses to hate groups like the Klu Klux Klan and the Nazis. “Do you see how fucked up that is,” Stewart yelled. “Basically you see people celebrating love as a hate group!”
In a later segment, Stewart and senior correspondent Jordan Klepper took on the story of Memories Pizza, the Indiana pie shop that has garnered hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations—as well as loads of online scorn—after its owner told local news reporters that her restaurant would not cater a gay wedding. The resulting bit is the perfect mix of hilarity and sadness you’d expect.