During his daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest blasted and debunked Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s lies about Indiana’s religious freedom law.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked if President Obama feels a need to amend the 1993 federal religious freedom law.
I know that Gov. Pence has tried to falsely suggest that the law that was signed in Indiana is the same as the law that was passed at the federal level in 1993. That is not true, and the reason that that’s not true is that the 1993 law was an effort to protect the religious liberty of religious minorities based on actions that could be taken by the federal government.
The Indiana law is much broader. It doesn’t just apply to individuals or religious minorities. It applies to, and I’m quoting here, ‘a partnership, a limited liability company, a corporation, a company, a firm, a society, a joint stock company, or an unincorporated association.’ So this obviously is a significant expansion of the law in terms of the way that it would apply.
At the same time, it is also worth noting that the law in Indiana doesn’t just apply to interactions with the government. It also applies to private transactions as well, which means that this is a much more open-ended piece of legislation that could reasonably be used to try to justify discriminating against somebody because of who they love.
Earnest also described Pence as being in “damage control” mode.
Pence’s two main defenses of the law were pretty much destroyed by the White House Press Secretary. Pence continues to claim that the law does not legalize discrimination and that the Indiana law is just like the federal law that was signed in 1993. Gov. Pence is trying to kill the backlash that he caused without feeding the perception that he is backing down.
The Indiana law is not the same as the 1993 federal law for all of the reasons that Earnest listed. It is also not the same as what Clinton signed because Indiana Republicans based their law on the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling.
Gov. Pence and the law’s defenders have been lying about the 1993 law, and the White House has called them out on it.
The Obama White House has not been afraid to speak out against discrimination, and today’s press briefing debunked the key components of the Republican defense of legalized discrimination.