Facing widespread criticism over a new "religious freedom" law that may allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers, Indiana Governor Mike Pence said this weekend that he was "determined to clarify" the bill distorted by "irresponsible headlines." Then, given an opportunity to do so on Sunday, the governor firmly refused to.
Appearing on This Week With George Stephanopoulos, Pence repeatedly ducked the simple yes or no question at the heart of the controversy: Would the bill allow a religious business owner to deny services to a gay customer without punishment?
"Well there's been shameless rhetoric about my state and about this law and about its intention all over the internet," answered Pence the second time (out of four) he was asked the question. "People are trying to make it about one particular issue. And now you're doing that, as well."
Pressed further, Pence responded with the clarity of a wet brick, saying, "Tolerance is a two way street."
Since the bill was signed into law on Thursday, the state of Indiana has been the subject of a growing backlash from a variety of individuals and organizations, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, the City of San Francisco and Angie's List, which announced it was canceling a planned expansion in Indianapolis that promised to create 1,000 local jobs.
In response, Pence told The Indianapolis Star on Saturday he planned to introduce legislation to "clarify the intent of the law." Asked whether that meant making gays and lesbians a legally protected class in Indiana, Pence said, "That's not on my agenda."