Republican Indiana Governor Mike Pence
on Tuesday said that he would work with lawmakers to “fix” a bill
supporters say protects religious freedom but critics argue targets
the LGBT community.
Pressure against the bill has been
mounting since Pence signed it on Thursday.
Opponents argue that the bill is a
response to a federal ruling striking down Indiana's ban on gay
marriage. They point to the bill's broad language, the state's lack
of LGBT protections and even the anti-gay rhetoric used by some of
its backers to argue that the bill's intent is to legalize
discrimination against members of the LGBT community.
On Tuesday, Pence repeated the claim
that Indiana's law mirrors a federal law signed by President Bill
Clinton in 1993. Unlike the federal law, however, Indiana's bill
defines a “person” to include a business or association.
“But clearly, clearly, there's been
misunderstanding and confusion and mischaracterization of this law,
and I come before you today to say how we're going to address that,”
Pence said, two days after he insisted on ABC's
This Week that the law would not be changed.
“I abhor discrimination. … But as I
said, we've – we've got a perception problem here, because some
people have a different view. And we intend to correct that.”
“I think it would be helpful, and I'd
like to see on my desk before the end of the week, legislation that
is added to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana that
makes it clear that this law does not give businesses the right to
deny services to anyone.”
“Let me say I believe this is a
clarification, but it’s also a fix. It’s a fix of a bill that
through mischaracterization and confusion has come to be greatly
misunderstood, and I’m determined to address this this week and to
move forward as a state,” he added.
When asked by a reporter whether the
new legislation would add sexual orientation and gender identity to
the state's civil rights laws, Pence suggested that he would veto
“I've never supported that,” he
said. “And I want to be clear. It's not on my agenda, but I think
it's a completely separate question.”