Indiana is surprised and, frankly, a little hurt by all the hostility that has greeted its friendly new law inviting everyone to treat selected sets of people like pariahs.
Three days after signing legislation widely criticized as a “license to discriminate” against LGBT people, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he didn’t anticipate “the hostility that’s been directed at our state.”
Pence told the Indianapolis Star on Saturday he’s been in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend, and will support legislation to “clarify the intent” of the religious freedom that has created a firestorm of criticism, boycotts and backlash from civic leaders to business leaders, and even the White House.
It’s all a big misunderstanding. Poor Indiana.
The measure, which takes effect in July, prohibits state laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of “person” includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.
Pence and other supporters of the law contend discrimination claims are overblown and insist it will keep the government from compelling people to provide services they find objectionable on religious grounds.
That’s a completely different thing. You can see that, right? Keeping the government from compelling people to provide services they find objectionable on religious grounds has nothing to do with allowing businesses, such as florists and bakeries, to refuse services to same-sex couples. Nothing at all. It’s just that, if a florist or a baker wants to refuse services to same sex couples on religious grounds, the government can’t force them to. See? Totally different.
I’m so relieved.