Indiana politicians claim ‘religious freedom’ bill doesn’t discriminate against LGBT people

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Politicians in the US state of Indiana have continued to deny that a bill to protect religious freedom was intended to legalise discrimination, including against LGBT people.

Governor Mike Pence signed the bill into law this 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.

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

“To the extent that we need to clarify that, by adding something to the law to make that clear that’s not the intent, we are more than willing to do it, and we plan to do that,” Long told reporters at a press conference.

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.