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RFRA supporter Curt Smith, law firm sever ties

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Three members of the Christian conservative movement were the primary supporters of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that prompted a boycott of Indiana.

One of them, Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute, recently parted ways with a local law firm.

Until last week Smith was the director of public policy at the Taft Law firm. One of its biggest clients is Cummins, the Columbus based engine manufacturer that was a leading opponent of the religious freedom law.

Something had to give.

Smith appeared in a photo taken with the governor at the private bill signing of the Religious Freedom law on March 26 along with Micah Clark of the Indiana Family Association and Eric Miller of Advance America.

Miller testified in last week’s conference committee meeting on a bill that gives protection against discrimination to gays and lesbians, “Religious Freedom Restoration Act is not a discriminatory act,” he said. “It is a protection for religious freedom.”

But last week Smith was in the middle of a professional transition.

As recently as Monday morning his Linkedin page showed him working at Taft Law.

But an email sent to his law firm address came back with a message saying that he left Taft to join the Family Institute as President, even though his bio at the Family Institute website points out that he has actually held that position for 11 years.

A spokesman for the law firm said that the purpose of the Family Institute didn’t match the purpose of the law firm but that it was Smith’s decision to leave.

It’s an example of why on Indiana Week in Review, Republican Mike McDaniel identified the biggest loser in the RFRA battle.

“I think it was the leaders of the Christian conservative movement, that really, probably at the end of the day, they would admit they’re the biggest losers,” said McDaniel.

The Taft law firm, according the spokesman, has a principle of inclusiveness, and the when the Religious Freedom law was perceived to allow discrimination against gays and lesbians, that apparently posed an additional problem.

Smith didn’t return a call asking for comment.