Facing intense backlash over signing the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act in his state last week, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is scheduled to present plans to “clarify” the law during an 11 a.m. EDT press conference Tuesday, according to his office. The measure has been criticized as opening the door to discrimination of gays, leading a number of organizations and businesses to threaten to boycott the state. You can watch a live stream of Pence’s remarks from the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis below:
The Republican governor was grilled Sunday by George Stephanopolous on ABC’s “This Week,” his last appearance before the media since signing the law, also known as SB 101. Pence repeatedly refused to directly answer questions about whether the law, which says the government can’t interfere with a person, institution or business exercising religious rights that may not jibe with state laws. The law has been interpreted by critics as paving the way for discrimination, such as a florist denying services to a gay couple on the grounds that gay marriage goes against the florist's religious views.
The outcry over SB 101 prompted Republican legislative leaders in Indiana to urge their colleagues to “clarify” the law. They said RFRA’s intent was not to allow discrimination and that the idea that it does was the result of misinterpretation.
But Democrats in Indiana, who are in the minority in both houses of the state legislature, said the only course of action was to repeal the law and add protections for gays to the state’s civil rights statutes. “When you have a bill that is this tainted, this corrupted, there is no fix to it,” said Indiana Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane during a press conference Monday.
Soon after Pence signed the law on Friday, Indianapolis-based Angie’s List canceled its planned $40 million expansion in the city. Meanwhile, the NCAA, also based in Indianapolis, said it was concerned over how college athletes would be treated after the law takes effect in July. And Apple CEO Tim Cook said Indiana’s religious freedom law and similar legislation in about 20 other states is “bad for business.”