After Jon Stewart dedicated “Daily Show” air time to stick up for future host Trevor Noah, he went back to business as usual and took on the controversial Indiana law known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“I didn’t realize that people in Indiana could not practice religion,” Stewart said.
In the law’s original language, business owners would be allowed to refuse service to anyone on the basis of religious freedom. Critics of the law said it was a thinly-veiled attempt to legalize discrimination against the LGBT community.
Even the NCAA came out against the law just days ahead of Indiana hosting the Final Four.
“That’s got to hurt when you’re being criticized by a company whose entire business model is based on exploitation,” Stewart said. “Here’s how you could get away with it: just call them student gays.”
Indiana governor Mike Pence eventually signed amendments to the law that specifically forbid discrimination against anyone because of sexual orientation, but Stewart doubted the politician had a “moral epiphany.”
“I’d like to believe that the change in language came via a moral epiphany,” Stewart said. “But my guess is it’s more of a ‘I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids!'”
Stewart then blasted former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for saying “the militant gay community” exerted pressure on Indiana to change the law. “So when gays want equality, it’s militancy,” Stewart said. “And when Christians want to deny service it’s freedom.”
Finally, Stewart took on those like former senator Rick Santorum who said the law would also protect someone from having to provide service to a group like the Westboro Baptist Church or the Ku Klux Klan. Stewart mocked the comparison, saying, “‘I’m just saying for some Christians, catering an elderly lesbian wedding is like making a Jew slow dance with Hitler.'”