Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), humbled but defiant, held a press conference on Tuesday to defend his state’s controversial new “religious freedom” law.
“Let me say first and foremost, I was proud to sign the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” he said. “This law does not give anyone licence to discriminate.”
Pence ignited a firestorm last week after he signed the legislation, which aims to protect the right of religious Indiana residents from unreasonable government intrusion.
Critics, however, said the law would allow for businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples. A wide range of celebrities and business leaders condemned the bill and some technology companies even threatened to roll back their investments in Indiana.
Pence appeared pained by the controversy and he repeatedly panned the “sloppy reporting” surrounding the issue.
“It’s been a tough week in the Hoosier state but we’re going to move forward,” he said.
Pence nevertheless admitted his state has a “perception problem.” Accordingly, he said the state’s legislative leaders would “boldly” move forward with another bill to “fix” and clarify that the law does not endorse discrimination against gays and lesbians.
“We’ve got a perception problem here because some people have a different view. And we intend to correct that. After much reflection and in consultation with leadership in the general assembly, I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be helpful to move legislation that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses the right to deny services to anyone. I think it would be helpful,” he said.
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