Mike Pence Asks for New Legislation

Mike Pence Asks for New Legislation March 31, 2015

For those who may have missed it, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence just asked for legislation to be created and to reach his desk by the end of the week “clarifying” that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not allow businesses to refuse services to anyone. He answered a question afterwards, saying that the law does not give anyone a license to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples, although he also said that he has never supported making gays and lesbians a protected category. He called it a “smear” that this law creates license to discriminate. He says that the appropriate response is to write new legislation making clear that this law does not do that. He says that he abhors discrimination.

Whether you consider it a “fix” or a “clarification,” perhaps it was worth having the misguided RFRA pass, if it also results in Indiana introducing new protections for LGBTQ people that they have been denied in Indiana legislation in the past. But perhaps the fix will just be something else problematic. What do you think?

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  • John Pieret

    Whether the “fix” will just be something else problematic will have to await the actual language they come up with. But the right wing is already complaining that any clarification “could totally destroy this bill” (i.e. keep them from using it as a defense to anti-discrimination laws covering LGBT people in those parts of Indiana that have them, such as Indianapolis).


    • Gary

      Your reference has a close up of the signing ceremony. I like the long shot of the “private” signing ceremony.

      Looks like the Holy Roman Empire.

      With a Republican legislature, any real change will be a tough sell.

      • How is he going to square this circle? The legislation is designed to allow corporations to refuse to serve certain people because something about them offends the sincerely held religious beliefs of the corporation. Moreover, that picture you posted of the private signing ceremony has been circulating widely on the internet because three of the people behind the governor have been active in lobbying against gay marriage or gay rights. The Indiana legislature knew exactly what it was passing, and Pence knew exactly what he was signing. He was signing legislation to allow businesses to object to serving gay people. He signed the legislation stealthily to avoid publicity, but still get street cred with Evangelicals for his anti-gay position. The only way to fix this legislation is to rescind it, or to do what is being proposed in another state with similar legislation. That is, amend it to state that for any business to receive protection under the legislation, they must post on the premises a statement which identifies the practices (religious, sexual or otherwise) which their business finds offensive. For example, “This business does not serve Jews because they killed Christ,” or “This business does not serve gay people because of Leviticus 18.” Now that a corporation can have religious beliefs (per the Hobby Lobby decision), corporations should be obligated to declare what those beliefs are so the public can take them into account before giving them their money.

        • Gary


      • Ian

        The long shot and the close up shot have different people in it though. Who was actually there? The only people in common seem to be the governor an the tall guy who is unlabelled in the close shot.

        • Gary

          You’re right. I was so absorbed into the Holy Roman Empire vision, that I failed to see the difference. There must have been so many lobbyists there that they had to run multiple groups through the photo line. Old guys like me can’t see very well, so we depend upon visions.

  • Andrew Dowling

    Pence is walking a mighty fine tightrope here (of his own making of course)

    As John says, the evangelical base does not want any change. But literally everyone else in the state does. In the end I say money talks and the new bill is seriously watered down.

  • Michael Wilson

    Adding LGBT to a protected status would be a step forward since discriminating against them has always been legal in Indiana, before even this RFRA legislation.

  • This new move is all about Mike Pence and his political survival – just as the original legislation was an appeal by legislators to a bigoted base.

  • For those who may have missed it, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence just asked for
    legislation to be created and to reach his desk by the end of the week
    “clarifying” that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not allow
    businesses to refuse services to anyone.


  • John Pieret

    BTW, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has totally let the cat out of the bag:

    The governor addressed the complete falsehood that RFRA is about denying people a seat in a restaurant or a room at a hotel. Christians would never deny people these services but being forced to participate in a ceremony that violates religious beliefs is completely un-American and uncivil. We must ensure that religious business owners are not forced by the government to participate in a same-sex ceremony. What RFRA is intended to do is to protect people from government discrimination. However, until we see the wording of his proposal, the impact on religious businesses and churches is unknown.

    RFRAs are not intended to nor have they ever been used to deny anyone non-religious goods or services. We support such a clarification making clear RFRA does not impact non-religious goods or services.

    The government shouldn’t force religious businesses and churches to participate in wedding ceremonies contrary to their owners’ beliefs.


    • John Pieret

      I especially like the claim that wedding photographers, bakers and the like are “religious businesses.” And, of course, no one at all is trying to make churches participate in SSMs.