Pence Signs Controversial RFRA Measure into Law

Mar 26, 2015

Gov. Mike Pence signed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law Thursday. Opponents worry the measure could be used to sanction discrimination against LGBT Hoosiers and others.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence says concerns about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act come from a misunderstanding of the law, for which he at least partly blames the media.  Pence signed the controversial bill into law Thursday.

RFRA establishes a judicial test that courts will use to decide when the government can infringe on a person’s religious beliefs and practices. 

Many groups say they’re concerned it will be used to sanction discrimination, particularly against LGBT Hoosiers. 

But Pence says if he thought the law, which exists at the federal level and in 30 other states, was discriminatory, he would have vetoed it.

“This legislation has never eroded anti-discrimination laws in the United State of America, ever,” Pence said.

Several Indiana companies and groups that hold conventions in Indianapolis have expressed concerns about the bill, threatening to leave the state.  Pence says he’ll talk with them about that.

“We’re going to reach out to any of our friends in the corporate community who have concerns and do our level best to explain to them what we’ve done here,” he added.

Democratic lawmakers, the ACLU, and gay rights groups all sent out statements opposing the governor’s decision to sign the bill, calling it a step backward for the state and deeply flawed. 

The pro-life community, led by Indiana Right to Life, strongly supports Pence’s move. 

The bill takes effect July 1st.