“The issue here is still: Is tolerance a two-way street or not?” he responded several times.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said Sunday that a new state law that attempts to protect long-standing religious freedoms “is not about discrimination” and that he and other state lawmakers do not intend to change the legislation.
Pence, a Republican, said the legislation that he signed last week prohibits Indiana laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs.
The definition of “person” includes religious institutions, businesses and associations, which is being interpreted as allowing a cake maker, for example, to legally refuse an order for a wedding cake for a gay couple.
Pence told ABC’s “This Week” the original federal law is more than 20 years old and that the purpose of the new Indiana one is to expand individual rights for those who feel government has impinged on their personal rights.
“This is not about discrimination,” he said. “This is about empowering people to confront government overreach.”
However, Pence did not answer directly when asked six times whether under the law it would be legal for a merchant to refuse to serve gay customers.