Tags: Gay Marriage | Religion | Mike Pence | Indiana | religious freedom restoration | defends | aligned

Gov. Pence: Religious Freedom Law Not Discriminatory, 'Long Overdue'

By    |   Monday, 30 Mar 2015 10:04 PM

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — under fire for a religious freedom law that allegedly provides a "license to discriminate" — is mounting a passionate defense against the "grossly misconstrued" charge, insisting the measure lines up with federal law and those in 30 states.

In an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal
posted online Monday night, the Republican executive vows the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is anything but anti-gay – and is long "overdue."

"I abhor discrimination," he writes.

"As governor of Indiana, if I were presented a bill that legalized discrimination against any person or group, I would veto it. Indiana’s new law contains no reference to sexual orientation. It simply mirrors federal law that President Bill Clinton signed in 1993."

Pence boasts gay rights supporter and Indiana University law professor Daniel Conkle is also a proponent — and has argued the new law would "provide valuable guidance to Indiana courts, directing them to balance religious freedom against competing interests under the same legal standard that applies throughout most of the land."

He points out Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993, and since then, 19 states have passed laws of their own.

"When President [Barack] Obama was a state senator in Illinois, he supported Illinois’ version of the law in 1998," Pence writes. "But Indiana never passed such a law."

And, Pence argues, the new law "only provides a mechanism to address claims, not a license for private parties to deny services."

Anyone who brought a claim under the new law would have to show how his or her religious beliefs were "'substantially burdened' and not in service to a broader government interest — which preventing discrimination certainly is," he writes, adding the government can step in and defend those interests.

"With the passage of this legislation, Indiana will continue to be a place that respects the beliefs of every person in our state," he writes.

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — under fire for a religious freedom law that allegedly provides a "license to discriminate" — is mounting a passionate defense against the "grossly misconstrued" charge, insisting the measure lines up with federal law and those in 30 states.
Mike Pence, Indiana, religious freedom restoration, defends, aligned, federal law
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2015-04-30
Monday, 30 Mar 2015 10:04 PM
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