Appearing Sunday on ABC's This Week,
Indiana Governor Mike Pence was asked repeatedly whether
discrimination against gays should be legal.
Pence, a Republican, has been under
fire since he signed a bill Thursday that critics say will allow
businesses to discriminate against members of the LGBT community
based on religious beliefs. Unlike other states where similar bills
have been enacted, Indiana civil rights laws do not include sexual
orientation or gender identity as protected classes.
Gov. Mike Pence signs bill allowing businesses to refuse to serve
Celebrities such as Miley
Cyrus and Aston Kutcher have criticized the measure on social
media, while companies such as Angie's
List and Salesforce
have threatened to pull out of the state.
Pence told This Week's
George Stephanopoulos that he was happy to “clarify” the bill's
“I'm just determined to clarify this.
This is about protecting the religious liberty of people of faith
and families of faith across this country,” Pence said.
But when Stephanopoulos repeatedly
asked Pence where he stood in regards to claims that the bill would
allow businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation, Pence
refused to give a straight answer.
“Eric Miller of Advance America wrote
that it will protect those who oppose gay marriage,” Stephanopoulos
said. “He put up this example. He said, 'Christian bakers,
florists and photographers should not be punished for refusing to
participate in a homosexual marriage.' So this is a yes or no
question: Is Advance America right when they say a florist in Indiana
can now refuse to serve a gay couple without fear of punishment?”
After Pence dodged the question,
Stephanopoulos asked him if he would lobby for a bill that adds
sexual orientation as a protected class in the state's civil rights
“I will not push for that,” Pence
answered. “That's not on my agenda. That's not been an objective
of the people of the state of Indiana. And it doesn't have anything
to do with this law.”
“From people who preach tolerance
every day we've been under an avalanche of intolerance and I'm not
going to take it lying down,” Pence added.
“Yes or no, should it be legal to
discriminate against gays and lesbians?” Stephanopoulos
“George, you're following the mantra
of the last week online. And you're trying to make this issue about
something else. What I am for is protecting with the highest
standards in our courts the religious liberty of Hoosiers. I signed
the bill. We're going to continue to explain it to people that don't
understand it,” Pence answered.