A growing national movement to boycott Indiana over a “religious freedom” law that opponents say makes discrimination against gays legal has the state’s Republican governor looking to “clarify” its intent.
Thousands marched in Indianapolis Saturday waving “No Hate In Our State” banners as the blowback exploded on social media — and in the board rooms.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, who is gay, tweeted he was deeply disappointed after Pence signed the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” last Thursday.
Mark Benioff, CEO of corporate software giant Salesforce.com, announced plans to move jobs out of Indy and stop corporate flights to the state.
Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle, a Republican who gave $150,000 to Pence’s campaign coffers, on Saturday canceled a $40 million expansion of its headquarters in the state.
And basketball great Charles Barkley slammed Pence’s law as “unacceptable” and called for the Easter weekend March Madness Final Four tournament to be moved out of the state.
The Indianapolis Star newspaper says the uproar has Pence facing “the deepest crisis of his political career.”
— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) March 28, 2015
“I support religious liberty, and I support this law,” Gov. Mike Pence told The Star. “But we are in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend to see if there’s a way to clarify the intent of the law.”
The Star reports that Pence was short on details but said he expects the measure to land in the state legislature this week.
Called “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it includes language that says the government can’t “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.”
It was signed by Pence last week in a ceremony that had him surrounded by friars, nuns, rabbis and priests.
Also there were lobbyists who pushed for the bill and who also fought a losing battle to ban gay marriage, which is now legal in the state.
CNN noted that, “one of those lobbyists, Eric Miller, explicitly wrote on his website that the law would protect businesses from participating in “homosexual marriage.”
The governor notes that 19 other states have “religious freedom” measures on the books, but gay legal groups counter that Pence’s law is the most far reaching.
It also comes just weeks after an Oregon case that has riled the religious right.
Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of the “Sweet Cakes” bake shop in 2013 refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.
They said doing so would violated their Christian belief that same-sex marriage is wrong.
A judge ruled they illegally discriminated, opening up the possibility of a $150,000 fine.
Aaron Klein told Fox News’ Todd Starnes: “They’re trying to push us into the closet for being Christians.
“The Founding Fathers said we have the inalienable rights given by God — not man,” Klein said. “Let’s exercise those rights.”
Critics of Indiana’s law say it is designed to protect people like the Kleins.