It’s been a looooong week for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and his fellow Republican lawmakers.
What started out as an effort to undo decades of advancements in the gay rights movement has, one week later, turned into the state enacting protections based on sexual orientation for the first time in its history, even though Gov. Pence said on Tuesday that protecting LGBT Indianans was “not on his agenda.”
What a different a few days makes, huh?
Republicans in the Hoosier State went back to the drawing board this week to overhaul their “religious freedom” bill signed into law eight days ago. They added a follow-up measure prohibiting businesses from using the law as an excuse for refusing “to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing” to any customers based on “race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service.”
Immediately after the bill hit his desk, Gov. Pence signed it into law.
“As governor I must always put the interest of our state first and ask myself every day, ‘What is best for Indiana?’” he said in a statement released yesterday evening. “I believe resolving this controversy and making clear that every person feels welcome and respected in our state is best for Indiana.”
Too bad it took a national outcry to make him realize that.
While this is certainly good news, many LGBT allies still feel the law doesn’t accomplish enough. They are now lobbying to have sexual orientation added to the list of categories protected by Indiana’s anti-discrimination law.
Never fear. Republican lawmakers said that this will happen soon. House Speaker Brian Bosma explained (through gritted teeth, no doubt) that the incredible backlash against the “religious freedom” law has “opened many perspectives” and that the anti-discrimination law “needs to be discussed.”
Score one for the gays.