Stick a fork in Mike Pence’s hopes of running for president. He’s done. Having done the right thing by protecting the religious freedom of the people of Indiana, he’s now negotiating a surrender. What is more troubling is that he seems to be trying to have it both ways. This morning he said:
Gov. Mike Pence appeared on Fox and Friends Tuesday morning and said lawmakers will clarify Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but declined to offer specifics.
“I stand by this law,” Pence told the morning show anchors. He did not say how the law might be amended or clarified.
The brief appearance followed an an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal that appeared in Tuesday’s print edition.
“I abhor discrimination. I believe in the Golden Rule that you should ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore,” Pence wrote in the piece.
Pence repeated on Fox and Friends that he believes the media has mischaracterized the “religious freedom” law, but he said Indiana is “open for business.”
“If we have to make adjustments to this law to make it clear…this law was never intended to create the impression that businesses can turn away customers on the basis of sexual orientation, we are going to fix that,” Pence said.
When asked whether he would support a clause that would bar discrimination based on sexual orientation, Pence responded: “That has not been my position.”
But he said if the state legislature wants to consider it, they can “have that debate.”
On the one hand he “stands by this law.” On the other, he’s going to allow the legislature to “clarify” the language.
Republican leaders in the Indiana General Assembly said Monday they are looking at options to clarify the state’s controversial religious freedom law, though they don’t believe the law would allow discrimination against gays and lesbians as opponents fear.
House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long made their comments at a Statehouse news conference to address a national firestorm over the law that has prompted some convention organizers, businesses, and entertainers to stall events or planned expansions in the state over concerns about discrimination.
“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.
But what exactly they will propose remains unclear. They said they are in talks with the governor’s office about potential clarifying language and that a repeal of the bill is unlikely.
I don’t even know what this means. I don’t know how you’d incorporate this low-rent, feel-good-iness into law without specifically attacking the core issue of religious freedom. If a Christian vendor can be forced to collaborate with an unmitigated evil, like assisting with a homosexual marriage, then the law and religious freedom has no meaning. If a Catholic institution must accept open homosexuals who are not continent (definition 7) then it no longer has religious freedom. In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court acknowledged that even a closely held corporation cannot be compelled to violate its religious beliefs. Why private citizens should not have the same rights, and be able to enforce those rights when harassed and bullied by the gaystapo is a mystery.
This volte face is inexplicable. Pence has already been beaten up over this law by the gaystapo and their willing allies in the media. If he backs down, they aren’t going to like him. They are going to boast about bringing him down. Right now he at least has friends who support him. If he allows this law to be “clarified” in any way he will be burning bridges with his allies as well as with his enemies.