Indiana Governor brands opponents of anti-gay religious freedom bill ‘intolerant’

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The Governor of Indiana, who last week signed a bill into law which makes it legal for religious businesses to discriminate against LGBT people, has accused its opponents of “intolerance”.

Governor Mike Pence signed the bill into law last week. 

The bill allows organisations, including businesses and churches, to refuse service to anyone on religious grounds, and is seen as a way for businesses to refuse service to LGBT clients. Nineteen other states have similar laws, and many others have proposals making their way through the legislature.

Speaking to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Pence declined to answer the question: “Can a florist in Indiana refuse to serve a gay couple without fear of punishment.”

Pence went on to say: “George, look, the issue here is, you know, is tolerance a two-way street or not? I mean, you know, there’s a lot of talk about tolerance in this country today having to do with people on the left. And a — but here Indiana steps forward to protect the constitutional rights and privileges of freedom of religion for people of faith and families of faith in our state and this avalanche of intolerance that’s been poured on our state is just outrageous.”

Earlier today, House Speaker Brian Bosma and state Senate President David Long, echoing words from Governor Pence, denied that the law is intended to legalise discrimination.

The law has gathered huge disapproval from celebrities and business owners, including Apple’s Tim Cook who called it “very dangerous”.

After the bill was signed last week, Marc Benioff, $4 billion (£2.6 billion) Salesforce’s 50-year old CEO, founder, and chairman responded on Twitter, saying the corporation would stop sending employees to Indiana, would reduce its investment in the state and called for others to do the same.

Singer Miley Cyrus also added a photo of Governor Pence to Instagram with the message: “You’re an a-hole”, and encouraged others to do the same.