Indiana Governor Mike Pence is defending the controversial "religious freedom" bill he signed into law last week. "We're not going to change the law," Pence said on ABC's "This Week.""But if the general assembly in Indiana sends me a bill that adds a section that reiterates and amplifies and clarifies what the law really is and what it has been for the last 20 years, than I'm open to that."
Pence made these statements in the face of extraordinary backlash against the bill, which ranged from Nick Offerman to Wilco to Hillary Clinton to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who wrote a scathing op-ed this weekend in the Washington Post, calling the bill "dangerous."
Gov. Pence evaded six yes-or-no questions from ABC's George Stephanopoulos about whether the bill could allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples. He also stated that the bill was similar to other "religious freedom" bills -- including a federal bill signed in 1993 -- a claim that has been thoroughly debunked. Pence also took to Twitter to make the following statement:
Meanwhile the list of those speaking out against the governor is growing.
State and local governments:
On Monday, Connecticut became the first state to boycott Indiana due to the new law. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy (D) announced an executive order that bans state-funded travel to Indiana.
"When new laws turn back the clock on progress, we can’t sit idly by," he continued. "We are sending a message that discrimination won’t be tolerated."
Over the weekend the city governments of Seattle and San Francisco issued similar orders banning city employees from traveling to Indiana at taxpayer expense.
Businesses -- especially the tech industry:
Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle, who has donated $150,000 to Gov. Mike Pence's campaign, announced that he would halt expansion plans for the company's headquarters in Indianapolis due to the law. The expansion was expected to bring in $40 million and hundreds of jobs to the state, according the the Washington Post.
Subaru also issued a statement about the "religious freedom" bill:
"While we recognize that the voters in each State elect their own legislature to decide that State's laws, we at Subaru do not agree with any legislation that allows for discrimination, or any behavior or act that promotes any form of discrimination. Furthermore, we do not allow discrimination in our own operations, including our operations in the state of Indiana. We will certainly continue to take the issue of non-discrimination into consideration as part of our decision-making processes."
Yelp's CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said in a statement:
"These laws set a terrible precedent that will likely harm the broader economic health of the states where they have been adopted, the businesses currently operating in those states and, most importantly, the consumers who could be victimized under these laws."
Twitter also released this statement via it's policy Twitter account:
An overwhelming number of celebrities -- from bands to movie stars -- have condemned the bill. On Monday, the band Wilco announced that they are cancelling their May 7 show due to the law.
Comedian and actor Nick Offerman (known best as Parks and Rec's Ron Swanson) canceled an upcoming Indiana show, tweeting the following:
Comedian Andy Cohen tweeted:
Ashton Kutcher, Audra McDonald, James Van Der Beek, and others have also tweeted outrage over the law.
The NBA, WNBA, and the Indiana Pacers released a joint statement expressing their concern about the law:
"The following joint statement was issued today by the NBA, WNBA, Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever in regard to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act recently signed into law in Indiana:
"'The game of basketball is grounded in long established principles of inclusion and mutual respect. We will continue to ensure that all fans, players and employees feel welcome at all NBA and WNBA events in Indiana and elsewhere.'
"Additionally, Pacers and Fever owner Herb Simon stated:
“'The Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever and Bankers Life Fieldhouse have the strongest possible commitment to inclusion and non-discrimination on any basis. Everyone is always welcome at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. That has always been the policy from the very beginning of the Simon family’s involvement and it always will be.'”
Indiana-based universities, such as Indiana, DePauw, and Butler University, also spoke out against Gov. Pence and the "religious freedom" law. San Francisco State University joined the three Indiana universities, stating: “It is unconscionable for this great University to spend its resources in a state that attempts to legislate discrimination of any kind. I am informing the campus community that no San Francisco State University funds from any source — general funds or auxiliary — will be used to support employee or student travel to Indiana."