Religious freedom laws like the one causing an uproar in Indiana have never been successfully used to defend discrimination against gays — and have rarely been used at all, legal experts say.

However, past may not be prologue in these cases, since gays have only recently won widespread legalization of same-sex marriage, and religious conservatives are now scrambling for new legal strategies to blunt the trend.

Gay rights advocates fear Indiana's law will allow caterers and florists, for example, to refuse to do business with same-sex couples.