Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) on Sunday said he did not regret signing the state’s controversial religious freedom law, but repeatedly dodged questions when asked if the law allowed discrimination against gay people.
During an interview with ABC’s “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos, Pence said that critics of the legislation simply misunderstood it.
“I understand that there’s been a tremendous amount of misinformation and misunderstanding around this bill,” Pence said. “I’m just determined to clarify this.”
Stephanopoulos then asked the governor whether the law allowed businesses, like florists or bakers, to refuse to serve gay couples.
“Let me explain to you, the purpose of this bill is to empower and has been for more than 20 years, George. This is not speculative,” Pence responded, adding that the bill is “not about discrimination.”
Stephanopoulos asked the governor again.
“Yes or no, if a florist in Indiana refuses to serve a gay couple at their wedding, is that legal now in Indiana?” he asked.
“George, this is — this is where this debate has gone, with misinformation,” Pence began to answer.
Stephanopoulos jumped in to ask Pence again, and the governor then said that critics have been trying to change the meaning of the law.
“There’s been shameless rhetoric about my state and about this law and about its intention all over the Internet. People are trying to make it about one particular issue. And now you’re doing that, as well,” Pence said.
The ABC host asked the governor numerous additional times whether the law allowed LGBT discrimination, and Pence continued to not completely answer the questions.
Stephanopoulos eventually moved on to ask the governor about potential for a clarification. On Saturday, Pence said he would support legislation to “clarify the intent of the law.”
The ABC host asked Pence if he would consider making sexual orientation a protected class under the state’s civil rights laws.
“I will not push for that. That’s not on my agenda and that’s not been an objective of the people of the state of Indiana. And it doesn’t have anything to do with this law,” Pence said.
Watch the interview via ABC: