Conservative Republican Governor Mike Pence has defiantly signed Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. What's next?
Indiana has just become the 20th state to pass aÂ Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. This morning in what was supposed to be a private ceremony with no press or public (although this tweet proves otherwise)Â Governor Mike Pence signed the RFRA into law.
â€” Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) March 26, 2015
The legislation itself will enable anyone to discriminate against anyone else, with no fear of government intervention or punishment, merely by citing their sincerely held religious beliefs.
The governor disagrees, issuing a strongly-defiant statement this morning.
â€œToday I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith," Pence's statement reads. â€œThe Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.
The 55-year old Evangelical Christian Governor citied the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case several times, and pointed to other religious challenges to Obamacare.
And he claimed the legislation has nothing to do with discrimination, despite factual evidence to the contrary.
â€œThis bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it. In fact, it does not even apply to disputes between private parties unless government action is involved. For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nationâ€™s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana.
â€œIndiana is rightly celebrated for the hospitality, generosity, tolerance, and values of our people, and that will never change. Faith and religion are important values to millions of Hoosiers and with the passage of this legislation, we ensure that Indiana will continue to be a place where we respect freedom of religion and make certain that government action will always be subject to the highest level of scrutiny that respects the religious beliefs of every Hoosier of every faith.â€
Many on social media are outraged:
â€” Hoosier Bromo (@HoosierBromo) March 26, 2015
â€” Ed Cates (@EdCates) March 26, 2015
â€” Toney (@ToneyCreature) March 26, 2015
â€” Disciples News (@DisciplesNews) March 26, 2015
Lobbyists allowed in for signing of #rFRA but not media...
â€” Niki Kelly (@nkellyatJG) March 26, 2015
â€” Meggie Dials (@meggiehd) March 26, 2015
Image via Twitter