Indiana Governor Won't Answer Discrimination Question

George Stephanopoulos tries again and again
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2015 5:43 AM CDT
Updated Mar 29, 2015 10:09 AM CDT
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence holds a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Thursday, March 26, 2015.   (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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(Newser) – "We are in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend to see if there's a way to clarify the intent of the law." That from Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who yesterday spoke to the Indianapolis Star about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. And in an appearance on ABC's This Week this morning, he cleared up some things but not others. ABC News reports that Pence said the controversial bill, signed into law on Thursday, would not be changing and that signing it was "absolutely not" a mistake. While he cited the "tremendous amount of misinformation and misunderstanding" around the bill, he didn't answer a number of questions from George Stephanopoulos ("just yes or no?" he pressed) as to whether the law does indeed do what its critics say it does: Let business owners—in Stephanopoulos' hypothetical, a Christian florist—refuse service to gays.

Pence and supporters have pointed to similar laws on the books in 19 other states, with the governor noting that then-state Sen. Barack Obama voted in favor of Illinois' version. ABC News points out Illinois has since enacted specific legal protection for gays, something Pence told Stephanopoulos was "not on his agenda." As the interview wrapped up, Stephanopoulos tried one last time, asking, "Do you think it should be legal in the state of Indiana to discriminate against gays or lesbians?" He wanted a yes or no, which Pence wouldn't give. "Hoosiers don't believe in discrimination," said Pence. Pressed again for a yes or no, Pence said, "What I am for is protecting ... the religious liberty of Hoosiers." Meanwhile, Angie's List has put a planned $40 million expansion of its Indianapolis headquarters on ice, and the mayor of Seattle announced all city-funded trips to Indiana were to cease.

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