Here's How Indiana GOP Wants to 'Clarify' the RFRA

Republicans, business leaders to announce clarifying measure
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2015 6:54 AM CDT
Updated Apr 2, 2015 9:05 AM CDT
New Deal Might 'Fix' Indiana Religious Freedom Law
Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long, left, and House Speaker Brian C. Bosma discuss clarifying the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, March 30, 2015.   (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Those calling for a "fix" are getting it, Indiana's top Republicans said at a press conference this morning. Senate President Pro Tem David Long and House Speaker Brian Bosma announced changes this morning that "clarify" the state's controversial new religious freedom law and aim to protect gays and lesbians. "We're here to announce that it's fixed," Bosma said, though he insisted the compromise language wasn't needed to change the actual law, but "to clarify the perception" of that law. The compromise measure states that the law can't be used to discriminate against customers of a business based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, the Indianapolis Star reported earlier. Churches and other nonprofit religious organizations, including schools, are exempted, but the protection does extend to housing and employment. The proposal is officially being presented to lawmakers now that the press conference is over, the Star notes.

The measure was put together by GOP leaders alongside business leaders, and Gov. Mike Pence's chief of staff met with the group late yesterday, but no one has said whether Pence will sign it, and the chief of staff said last night that the governor still needs to review it. But, the Atlantic notes, Pence did say Tuesday that he wanted to sign such a clarifying bill, and that he wanted it by week's end. Asked if there are enough votes to pass the compromise in the legislature, both Bosma and Long gave a firm "yes." They also both made it clear they believe they've satisfied both sides of the debate, but the Star noted earlier that the deal "is unlikely to make either liberal or conservative activists" 100% happy. Asked specifically about the case of the pizzeria refusing to cater a gay wedding, Bosma said, "We can unequivocally say that RFRA cannot be used to discriminate against anyone," but individual cases of how people attempt to use it will be decided by the courts. (More Indiana stories.)

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