Indiana Governor Pledges To Protect "Religious Freedom" In State Of The State Address

In his State of the State speech, Indiana Governor Mike Pence made it clear that he expected religious freedom to take a starring role in 2016 legislation.

From National Journal:

Indi­ana Gov. Mike Pence de­clined to ex­pli­citly say Tues­day dur­ing his State of the State ad­dress wheth­er law­makers should add civil-rights pro­tec­tions for gays to state law, en­sur­ing that the de­bate will con­tin­ue as he seeks a second term.

In­stead, Pence warned le­gis­lat­ors to pro­tect re­li­gious free­dom, say­ing, “I will not sup­port any bill that di­min­ishes the re­li­gious free­dom of Hoo­siers or that in­ter­feres with the con­sti­tu­tion­al rights of our cit­izens to live out their be­liefs in wor­ship, ser­vice, or work.”

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This is not good for Indiana. Anyone who wasn't under a rock in 2015 remembers the national uproar over Indiana's intensely anti-LGBT RFRA bill, a piece of legislation that was hurriedly toned down as both Hoosiers and the state business community cried foul. Governor Pence's speech is already causing discontented rumblings from those who have business interests in the state:

"He had an opportunity to lead our state and call for decisive action to show that Indiana is a welcoming state, but his rhetoric indicates he is willing to let Indiana be a state that welcomes most, not all," said Peter Hanscom, initiative manager for the business coalition Indiana Competes. "While Governor Pence emphasized tonight that Hoosiers should not be harassed or mistreated, he said nothing about condemning Hoosiers being fired, removed from their home or denied public service because of who they are."

We predict that we will hear a lot more of this unpleasantness from Indiana in the months to come.

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