Pence supports bill clarifying religious objection law

March 28, 2015

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he would support legislation to "clarify the intent" of a new state law that has attracted widespread criticism over concerns it could allow discrimination against gay people.

The governor said he's been in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend, he told The Indianapolis Star on Saturday. He expects that a clarification bill will be introduced this coming week to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act he signed Thursday.

He declined to provide details but, when asked, he said that making gay and lesbian Indiana residents a protected legal class is "not on my agenda."

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

Hundreds of people, some carrying signs reading "no hate in our state," gathered Saturday outside the Indiana Statehouse for a boisterous rally against the law, which takes effect in July.

Since Pence signed the bill, Indiana has been widely criticized by businesses and organizations around the nation, as well as on social media with the hashtag #boycottindiana. Local officials and business groups around the state hope to stem the fallout, although consumer review service Angie's List said Saturday that it is suspending a planned expansion in Indianapolis because of the new law.

The governor and other supporters of the law contend discrimination claims are overblown and insist it will keep the government from compelling people to provide services they find objectionable on religious grounds. They also maintain that courts haven't allowed discrimination under similar laws covering the federal government and 19 other states.


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