Corporations and civic organizations force the Indiana Legislature to appropriately marginalize Governor Mike Pence
The Indiana Legislature, the legislature that wrote a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that implicitly allowed for discrimination against the LGBT community, has bucked Governor Mike Pence. The Governor appeared on ABC’s ThisWeek where he defended the bill.
George Stephanopoulos asked Mike Pence if he would create a fix by making LGBT a protected class in their civil rights statutes. His answer, “I will not push for that.” Stephanopoulos then asked if he could support a fix that stated that “This chapter does not establish or eliminate a defense to a claim under any federal, state or local law protecting civil rights or preventing discrimination.” His answer, “George look, we are not going to change the law.”
Governor Mike Pence had attempted to clean things up in tone in his press conference but continued to defend the bill.
Well the legislature acted.
Brian Bosma, speaker of the state House, said that the language would make clear that “we value you — gay, straight, black, white, religious, nonreligious. We value each and every Hoosier.”
The language says that businesses may not use the law to refuse service to anyone on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or a range of other classifications, including race and religion.
Bosma and his counterpart in the state Senate said that they had secured the votes to pass the change later in the day.
Not everyone is happy with the fix. Apparently it does not go far enough for Angie’s List.
The one thing that is evident from this entire episode is that ALL politicians are still malleable when the business community is galvanized to act. What does this mean for middle-class centric activism in the short term? It seems that more must be done to force our businesses to engage our politicians on other issues lest they feel our wrath. In the long term we must ensure politicians ultimately answer to the people and not solely to business interests and corporations. This does not mean simply voting, but voting engagingly and smartly. We should live by the mantra ‘Political involvement should be a requirement for citizenship.’