Pence on RFRA: ‘We will fix this’

Indiana Governor Mike Pence
Mike Pence holds a press conference discussing the backlash against the RFRA bill on March 31, 2015. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Reporters lobbed difficult questions at Gov. Mike Pence Tuesday morning in a news conference he called to clarify the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Pence asked the Indiana General Assembly to draft a bill that focuses on the issue of the misinterpretation of RFRA.

During Tuesday’s press conference, he was insistent that he “does not support discrimination against gays, or lesbians, or anyone else.”

Pence noted that it was a tough week in the Hoosier state and he will continue to defend the “decent people of Indiana.”

He was taken aback when the disruption happened and, in part, blamed the national media. When asked if he expected the backlash the bill created, Pence paused and said, “Heavens no!”

The governor appeared on “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday to clarify the bill. He stated Tuesday that he could have handled the interview better, but he wanted to make sure that citizens knew that RFRA was about religious liberty and not about discrimination.

“The reputation of the law and the intentions of the legislation have been called into question. And we need to deal with this, this week.”

He noted that the reason this bill was brought before the General Assembly this year was because of the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision from 2015.

Pence addressed the international attention Indiana has received as a result of the passage of RFRA. He called some of the comments about Indiana “deeply offensive to me” and promised to defend Indiana.

When asked how Indiana would earn back the good name of Hoosier hospitality Pence stated, “The state of Indiana has a good name. This law has been smeared. But, look, we’re going to mark our 200th anniversary next year, and the name and reputation of the people of Indiana is strong and secure. But the reputation of the law and the intentions of the legislation have been called into question. And we need to deal with this, this week. We will fix this and more forward. That’s what Hoosiers do.”

Indiana Democratic leaders Rep. Scott Pelath and Sen. Tim Lanane spoke on Tuesday in response to Gov. Pence’s press conference.

Lane said the law was “tainted and needs to be repealed.”

The Democrats have called for the state’s civil rights laws to be modified to include sexual orientation as a protected class.

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