Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) appeared on This Week to discuss Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act with host George Stephanopoulos. When Stephanopoulos asked Pence if the law allows discrimination against gay people based on religious reasons, Pence consistently sidestepped the question.
Pence opened by saying there’s a lot of “misinformation and misunderstanding around this bill.” Stephanopoulos asked the governor a simple question: does the law allow people to discriminate against people due to religious beliefs?
“Let me explain to you, the purpose of this bill is to empower and has been for more than 20 years, George. This is not speculative,” said Pence. This bill is “not about discrimination.”
Unsatisfied with the governor’s vague blabbering, Stephanopoulos asked again.
“Yes or no: if a florist in Indiana refuses to serve a gay couple at their wedding, is that legal now in Indiana?”
Again, Pence attempted the politician’s trick of trying to bury the main point of the conversation by shifting the blame and focus onto something else.
“George, this is — this is where this debate has gone, with misinformation,” said Pence. “There’s been shameless rhetoric about my state and about this law and about its intention all over the Internet. People are trying to make it about one particular issue. And now you’re doing that, as well.”
Indiana’s “religious freedom” law caused a national outrage that resulted in the halted construction of an Angie’s List office expansion in Indianapolis and two cities have halted travel to the state altogether: Seattle and San Francisco. The backlash has been so intense that other states have paused their pursuit of adopting similar laws.
The state of Georgia was poised to pass the most dangerous and loosely-worded “religious freedom” bill in the country. The Georgia state legislature has suspended their current pursuit of the law. The proposed Georgia law was so loosely-worded that legal experts have said that child and spousal abuse could possibly be protected under the law.
Although they would never admit it, the Republican lawmakers who pen these “religious freedom” laws likely intend to curtail the establishment of civil rights for the LGBT community. Pence is no different because he can’t even admit that people have used this law to undermine the civil rights of others.