So it looks like negotiations between Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and some of the businesses threatening to boycott the state (or fearing such a boycott) if it fails to repeal or modify the new “religious liberty” law are close to a resolution, per Tom LoBianco and Tony Cook of the Indianapolis Star.
Indiana Republican leaders are vetting a deal with key business leaders that grants protection for gay and lesbian residents from the state’s controversial “religious freedom” law.
A copy of the language obtained by The Indianapolis Star was being presented to Gov. Mike Pence Wednesday morning and House Speaker Brian Bosma was meeting in his Statehouse office this afternoon with sport and business leaders, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Mark Miles, Indy Chamber Vice President Mark Fisher and a representative from tech company Salesforce.
Gov. Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Jim Atterholt, joined the meeting later.
The measure being discussed would specify that the new religious freedom law cannot be used as a legal defense to discriminate against patrons based on their sexual orientation.
The measure goes much further than a “preamble” that was proposed earlier in the week, explaining exactly what the RFRA law does. But it doesn’t go as far as establishing gays and lesbians as a protected class of citizens or repealing the law outright, both things that Republican leaders have said they could not support.
It sounds like the compromise will probably annoy both conservative evangelical supporters and LGBT critics of the original law, but may be enough for the business types, particularly the locals who just want to take the bullseye off the Hoosiers and melt back into the herd of states offering vague and untested “religious liberty” protections.
Certainly those who wanted to turn the defeat represented by the original bill into a victory via gubernatorial support for an actual LGBT antidiscrimination law–which Indiana currently lacks–won’t consider this enough. Neither, apparently, will my Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination, whose board didn’t wait around for the compromise language before carrying out its threat to cancel plans to hold our biennial General Assembly in Indy in 2017.