A backlash against passage of an
Indiana bill that supporters say seeks to protect religious freedom
but which critics say targets the LGBT community continues to grow.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a
Republican, has been under fire since he signed the bill on Thursday.
The measure seeks to prohibit any state and local laws that
“substantially burden” a person's ability to follow his or her
religious beliefs and defines a “person” to include a business or
A photo of the private signing ceremony
which features Pence surrounded by several anti-gay activists
surfaced over the weekend, fanning the debate over the bill's
One of the men who attended the
ceremony was Eric Miller of Advance America. Miller has stated that
the bill will “protect those who oppose gay marriage.”
During an appearance on ABC's
This Week, Pence refused to say whether discrimination
against gays should be legal, insisting that “it doesn't have
anything to do with this law.”
On Monday, Republican lawmakers said
they would look at options to ensure that the law does not lead to
discrimination, though they would not commit to adding sexual
orientation and gender identity as protected classes to Indiana's
civil rights laws.
Earlier this month, a similar measure
cleared the Republican-controlled Georgia Senate, but was shelved in
the House after a Republican member added language that prohibited
On Monday, North Carolina Governor Pat
McCrory, a Republican, announced he would not sign a religious
freedom bill advancing in the General Assembly that would exempt
court officials from marrying gay couples.
“I don't think you should have an
exception or a carve-out when you swore an oath to the Constitution
of North Carolina or to the Constitution of the United States of
America,” McCrory said. “Even if there are things in the
constitution that I disagree with that are upheld by the courts.”
Arkansas Republican Governor Asa
Hutchinson, on the other hand, has pledged his signature to a bill
similar to Indiana's.