Indiana Governor: “We’ll Fix” Controversial Religious Freedom Law

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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana -- Indiana Gov. Mike Pence pledged Tuesday to "fix" Indiana's controversial religious freedom law to clarify that it does not condone discrimination against gays and lesbians, asking the state legislators to pass a fix this week.

"It would be helpful to move legislation this week that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone," Pence said in a press conference in Indianapolis on Tuesday.

After waffling in recent days on whether or not he would support a legislative fix, Pence told Fox News on Tuesday morning that "we'll fix this and we'll move forward."

"There was never any intention in this law to create a license to discriminate and we'll clarify that in the days ahead," Pence said on Fox News. "It's important to me in this process and we'll do it in legislation."

Pence's statement came a day after Indiana's top state legislators announced they were working on a legislative fix to clarify the intent of the law and following an intense backlash against the law, especially from the business community in Indiana and across the country.

Pence and other Indiana Republicans have repeatedly insisted that the law was never intended to allow discrimination against anyone and have charged that, even in its current form, the law could not be used as a legal defense to discriminate against someone on the basis of sexual orientation.

Instead, Pence and his GOP allies have accused the media and opponents of the law of mischaracterizing the law and spreading misinformation. But opposition to the law was swift and broad-sweeping, with large organizations and top companies ranging from the NCAA to Apple and Salesforce raising red flags over the law.

The state's house speaker said he "didn't see that [reaction] coming" in the Monday press conference announcing work on a legislative fix.

Pence again repeated that he "abhor(s) discrimination" and said the law was intended to "promote tolerance around the country."

The Indiana Republican, who has been floated as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, again repeated that he is unflinchingly opposed to discrimination.

"If I was in a restaurant and saw a business owner deny services to someone because they were gay, I wouldn't eat there anymore," Pence repeated on Fox News.

He also noted that he joined civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis in a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when hundreds of activists fighting for civil rights for African-Americans were brutally assaulted by police officers.

Pence did get some beefy backup from the field of potential 2016 presidential contenders as former Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Bobby Jindal and others, including the only declared 2016 presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, rushing to defend the Indiana law.

5 comments

  • do ur job

    It shouldn’t have anything do with relireligion and everything to do with the business owner and their right to establish their own business model.

    • John Smith

      In the United States of America, this has been settled law for some decades, now:

      If you are a business operating in public to serve the public, you are not allowed to discriminate in your choice of whom you will serve, based on a number of criteria having to do with the constitutional civil rights of ALL American citizens. Your “business model” cannot include certain illegal activities, whether you want it to or not.

      Otherwise, you are not allowed to continue doing business in the USA. Kind of like your “business model” can’t include “armed robbery” as one of its components. It is a pretty simple concept.

      How is it that so many Republican states think that they can create laws that supersede Federal laws? Or, is this just another example of a rightwingnut playing to the looniest part of his base, with no actual HOPE that the law will ultimately hold up to court scrutiny? You know, for nothing more than “political capital”?

  • John Smith

    Why, what could there possibly be to “clarify”, Governor Pence? Haven’t you repeatedly told us all that your law is somehow different to what your law says? Why would anyone need to “clarify” your law?

    Oh, and does such “clarification” have the force of actual law itself? Is it kind of like the “signing statements” that the last President made such repeated use of on the Federal level? Or, is this “clarification” different, somehow?

    See, because I think the legal pundits have this law of yours pegged: MASSIVE amounts of court time will be spent in litigation of one part or another of it. Do you, Governor, and the esteemed Indiana Legislature understand that, at some point, you have to pass laws that will pass court scrutiny in order for them to “stick”, so to speak?

  • Linda

    It is not the law that needs to be fixed, it is the idiots out there who are bending it and making it read whatever they want. This is not about cake, but about making someone do something they think is immoral, detrimental, and against their spiritual beliefs. Why is it that the whole world has to accommodate you (whoever you are), but yet the rest of us are ignored and ridiculed and punished because we don’t happen to believe what you do??????? This is God’s world……let’s just live and let live!

    • John Smith

      If your “religious beliefs” prevent you from doing business in the United States without violating American Citizens’ Civil Rights, then you do not belong in business in the United States. Simple as that, Either treat ALL customers properly, or you don’t deserve to HAVE customers.

      Why is this seemingly so difficult for certain rightwingnut thumpers to understand? It has been settled law here for decades, now.

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