Two of the top lawmakers in the Indiana state legislature, both Republicans, explained Monday morning that they plan to push an amendment “clarifying” the controversial religious freedom law Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed last week that could allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples.
At a press conference early on Monday, Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (pictured, left) and Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore David Long said that they would “encourage our colleagues to adopt a clarifying measure of some sort to remove this misconception about the bill.”
Long said this was a reaction to an “obvious misconception” about what the new law does.
Some high-profile figures and businesses with major stakes in Indiana warned of a backlash of the law’s effect before Pence signed it into effect, saying it would effectively license businesses to discriminate against gay individuals. That criticism only intensified after the law was signed. National figures like Apple CEO Tim Cook and Saleforce CEO Marc Benioff have strongly criticized the law.
Bosma and Long stressed that they hadn’t anticipated the backlash of the law. Asked about both proponents of the law and opponents who said the law effectively discriminated against same-sex individuals. Long said that there was just a “small tribe” of people saying that.
“The fact is that it doesn’t do that, it doesn’t discriminate and anyone on either side of this issue suggesting otherwise is just plain flat wrong,” Long said.
Throughout the press conference, both lawmakers said repeatedly the legislation does not directly discriminate against anyone.
“What it does is it sets a standard of review for a court when issues of religious freedom and other rights collide due to government action,” Bosma said.
Indiana Democrats quickly responded to the press conference saying that they wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less than a full repeal of the law.