NewsPublic Affairs / January 13, 2016

Hoosier Lawmakers React To State Of The State Address

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, second from right, walks to the podium to deliver his State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature at the Statehouse. - AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, second from right, walks to the podium to deliver his State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature at the Statehouse.

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

INDIANAPOLIS -- Republican legislative leaders say Gov. Mike Pence was clear in his State of the State about the necessity of protecting religious freedom when it comes to the debate over LGBT rights. Democratic leaders say Pence failed to provide any leadership.

Senate Republicans have already proposed two versions of legislation seeking to balance civil rights protections for LGBT Hoosiers with religious liberty assurances.  And Senate GOP Leader David Long says he thinks those bills pass muster with Pence’s indication that he wouldn’t sign a bill that weakens religious freedom.

“But the issue of whether the governor has to stand out there and say ‘I’ll do this or I won’t do that,’ I don’t agree with that," Long said. "It’s very uncertain where this legislation is going.”

Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane says he’s astounded by Pence’s lack of leadership, particularly focusing on the governor’s remarks questioning whether reconciling LGBT rights with religious liberty was possible or necessary.

“It sent a message to me that he would be perfectly happy with us doing absolutely nothing,” Lanane said.

Lanane says Pence essentially punted the entire issue to the legislature.

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