Perhaps feeling the heat growing ever hotter, Indiana Governor Mike Pence has penned an Op-Ed piece for The Wall Street Journal trying, again, to explain why he signed a bill that clearly allows people, businesses, to refuse services to paying customers for any reason they choose if the business owner cites a “deeply held religious conviction” as their reason for discrimination.
Now, while it sounds a little vague, these Religious Freedom Restoration Acts [RFRAs] have sprung up in the light if marriage equality gaining a foothold in this country, and with certain bakeries, florists, dress shops, etc., refusing to do business with The Gays because, they say God doesn’t want them to do it.
It’s a kinder way of going Westboro Baptists; instead of ‘God Hates Fags,’ it’s ‘God told ne to not bake the cake,’ but however you slice it, it’s hate and discrimination.
Governor Pence has been appearing everywhere he can, trying to diffuse the situation, but every time he opens his mouth his foot goes into it deeper; first he asked to have the law clarified, which made me wonder why, as a career politician, he wouldn’t have asked for clarification before signing the law.
Then, when asked if he thought the law allowed discrimination against the LGBT community, he could not, would not, answer. I get that; if he’d said 'Yes,' he’s look like one of the bigots, but if he said 'No' he’d just look like a lying bigot. And so that may explain his need to explain … again … and saying, again, that it's "not a license to discriminate."
Pence says in his op-ed, that the law "simply mirrors" federal legislation signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1993 and similar measures in 30 other states.
"I want to make clear to Hoosiers and every American that despite what critics and many in the national media have asserted, the law is not a 'license to discriminate,' either in Indiana or elsewhere. In fact, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act reflects federal law, as well as law in 30 states nationwide. Indiana’s legislation is about affording citizens full protection under Indiana law."
Well, that’s not true, Governor, so let me clarify it for you: the laws he’s talking about, that were signed by former President Clinton, deal with disputes between the government and individual citizens. The Indiana RFRA law is the first to deal with potential lawsuits between individuals.
Pence ahs also claimed that the Indiana RFRA is just like Illinois law that then-State Senator Obama voted to support.
Again, not so high on the truth-meter, Governor. He failed to note that Illinois has strict nondiscrimination clauses in its state Human Rights Act that specifically protect LGBT people. Indiana does not. This matters because those seeking to discriminate in Indiana may claim that the lack of a statewide law barring sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination means that there is no compelling state interest in enforcing local ordinances providing such protections.
Pence also suggested that this new law merely strengthens existing laws already on the books in Indiana, which, again, is not so truthful.
The fact is that the law’s language is so “broadly written that someone can sue even without their religious beliefs having actually been burdened simply by claiming that is 'likely' to happen.”
He’s spinning, y’all, and spinning out of control. He seems to sign bills before really knowing what they mean, or what might happen after he signs them, and then he out-and-out lies — or maybe, like Brian Williams, he ‘misremembers — about what the bill means, and lies about precedence for his legalized discrimination.
But what bother me most about Mike Pence, is that he expects anyone to believe that he isn’t anti-LGBT; that he isn’t a bigot; that he isn’t pro-discrimination as long as you cite Jesus as the reason for the season of discrimination in Indiana. In his op-ed, he says:
"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. As governor of Indiana, if I were presented a bill that legalized discrimination against any person or group, I would veto it."
All well and good, you know, so nice and fair, you know, but the fact is that Governor Pence has signed a bill that allows a restaurant owner to deny service to a gay couple, and while Pence may not ever eat at that establishment again, he’s signed in law their right to discriminate.
He’s your typical GOP politicians, pandering to the base of the religious right by allowing discrimination to be legalized, and then lying about, it, refusing to answer a simple question about it, and then saying, and expecting anyone to believe, that he is anti-discrimination.
He isn’t; he needs to fix this, and then he needs to go.