In a hastily-called press conference Monday morning, Indiana's two top GOP lawmakers tried to do damage control, throwing Governor Mike Pence under the bus.
Apologies - video starts immediately.
Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (image, top) and Senate President Pro Tem David Long hosted a press conference this morning to try to control some of the damage done by Governor Mike Pence Sunday on ABC News' "This Week," and by their anti-gay "religious freedom" bill the governor signed last week.
Pence of course gave a cringe-worthy interview Sunday, refusing to answer six or eight questions about discrimination, but going so far as to say preventing discrimination against LGBT people was not on his "agenda."
Republicans Bosma and Long, both of whom have worked for years to keep LGBT people as second class citizens, falsely characterized Indiana's RFRA as being one of many laws in 30 states that are all extremely similar to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In fact, the Indiana law is nothing like the federal law - it is the most wide-sweeping law of its kind - and very dissimilar to many state RFRAs.
The two GOP lawmakers are refusing Democratic state lawmakers' calls to pass an LGBT non-discrimination law, but - in closely-parsed statements - acknowledged they were considering passing another bill that would clarify that their RFRA was not created with the intent to discriminate.
"To the extent that we need to clarify through legislative action that this law does not and will not be allowed to discriminate against anyone, we will do just that," Long said.
Bosma added, "To the extent that might be the effect of the bill, we are prepared to encourage our legislative colleagues to take immediate action."
Ironically, GOP lawmakers had the opportunity to do just that when they were considering amendments to the bill, but refused to include any that would have stated the bill's intent was not to allow or support anti-LGBT discrimination.
In what might be a stunning acknowledgement, House Speaker Bosma admitted he has "been listening to legal experts, some of whom support gay marriage some of whom don't, who have called for this change."
Those legal experts are likely the mostly anti-gay activists who signed on to a letter of legal advice advocating for the RFRA law to begin with. Those "experts" include National Organization For Marriage co-founder Robert P. George, anti-gay activist Douglas Laycock, and Robin Fretwell Wilson, co-author of the divisive Utah non-discrimination and religious protection laws.
Bosma also talked about the backlash over the past few days, saying it was the result of "miscommunication and misinterpretation by both opponents and proponents."
"There was a mantra from opponents that it allowed denying service, and then, unfortunately, some proponents concurred," Bosma said.
The two lawmakers were only too happy to use the Governor's poor performance as a political shield, and said they were forced to hold the press conference as a result of Pence's poor performance Sunday.
The Indy Star reports that during today's presser, "Bosma said 'the fact that [Gov. Pence] did not answer questions clearly' was part of the reason for Monday's news conference. "I think it raised the spectre that (discrimination) was the effect or the intent, and that's why we're standing here today," he added.
One interesting note: Governor Pence, Speaker Bosma, and Senator Long all used almost identical language and talking points in their media appearances yesterday and today as Family Research Council spokesperson Peter Sprigg did this morning on CNN.
Why is that?
Here's the full 29-minute press conference, should you care to watch the lawmakers' obfuscation, mischaracterizations, and falsifications:
Image: Screenshot via The Indy Channel
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