Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he Is ‘Not Going to Change’ Religious Freedom Law

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence defended his state’s new religious freedom law Sunday while refusing to say if it would allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Facing a rising tide of criticism and business boycotts against his state, Pence said he would consider a second law that “amplifies and clarifies” the first one but added, “We’re not going to change the law.”

“We have suffered under this avalanche for the last several days of condemnation, and it’s completely baseless,” Pence said on ABC’s This Week. “This isn’t about disputes between individuals, it’s about government overreach. And I’m proud that Indiana stepped forward, and … I’m working hard to clarify this. We’re reaching out to business leaders.”

The law Pence signed Thursday prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion — unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least restrictive means of achieving it. It takes effect July 1.

On Saturday, thousands of people gathered in downtown Indianapolis to protest the law that critics say could allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The governor’s effort to quell the firestorm over the religious freedom restoration act did little to mollify gay rights organizations convinced that the law would allow businesses to refuse to serve gays and lesbians.

“Governor Pence’s calls for a clarification of this destructive bill are phony unless the legislation guarantees explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBT Hoosiers and includes a clear civil rights carve-out,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign.

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Source: USA Today | Richard Wolf

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