March 28, 2015

Pence Says He Stands By RFRA

Thousands of opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, gathered on the lawn of the Indiana State House to rally against that legislation Saturday, March 28, 2015.  - The Associated Press

Thousands of opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, gathered on the lawn of the Indiana State House to rally against that legislation Saturday, March 28, 2015.

The Associated Press

In an appearance on ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning, Gov. Mike Pence said he stands by the state's new law meant to protect the right to religious objection, but which has attracted widespread criticism over concerns that it could open the door to discrimination.

Pence told host George Stephanopoulous that a federal law predating Indiana's statute "does not apply ... to disputes between individuals unless government action is involved," and said that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act had "never been used to undermine anti-discrimination laws in this country."

 

Pence told the Indy Star on Saturday that he would go back to the legislature this week to clarify the intent of the law, which he signed Thursday in a private ceremony. 

He declined to provide details but told the newspaper that making gay and lesbian Indiana residents a protected legal class is "not on my agenda," a stance that he reiterated during Sunday's interview on ABC.

Pence disputes that the law allows state-sanctioned anti-gay discrimination, as some Indiana businesses, convention organizers and others have argued. He says he didn't anticipate "the hostility that's been directed at our state."

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