In Press Conference Train Wreck Mike Pence Crumbles Trying Defend Religious Freedom Law


mike pence religious freedom bill press conference

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence called a press conference to tell the world that everyone has got his “religious freedom” law wrong, he once went to Selma with John Lewis, and that he is not a bigot. The more Pence talked, the worse things got for him.

Clip of the opening of the press conference:


Pence never said that law the was wrong. He stuck to his false claims that the law is just like the one that Bill Clinton signed in 1993 and that people are misunderstanding his religious freedom law.

Gov. Pence said that there is a perception problem, “I don’t believe for a minute that it was the intent of the Assembly to create a license to discriminate or a right to deny services to gays, lesbians, or anyone else in this state, and it certainly wasn’t my intent. But I can appreciate that that’s become the perception, not just here in Indiana, but all across this country. And we need to confront that, and confront it boldly, in a way that respects the interests of all involved.”

Pence doesn’t have a perception problem. He has a law that has legalized discrimination.

Gov.Pence later claimed that the law and the people of Indiana have been smeared, “I am calling on the General Assembly to that focuses on the issue here. That focuses on frankly the smear that has been leveled against this law and the people of Indiana. That is that somehow through our legislative process we enacted legislation that created a license to discriminate.”

Only in the Republican mind can the facts become a smear. Pence was focused on perception, which means that it is fine if Indiana passes a law that does discriminate, but it is wrong to be perceived as discriminating. Pence managed to build on his disastrous appearance on ABC’s This Week, by implicitly admitting that he still supports laws that discriminate under the guise of religious freedom. He is trying to fix the language so that it doesn’t appear that the state supports discrimination.

By adding some new language about not overtly denying services, Gov. Pence is hoping to make the problem go away. The overall issue is that his religious freedom bill will still allow discrimination.

Pence can’t defend the bill, so he attacked the media and told personal stories that were intended to assure everyone watching that he isn’t a bigot. This was a horrible press conference where Pence doubled down on the same sort of remarks that got him into trouble in the first place. The only way to fix the bill is to repeal it, but that is something that Gov. Pence will not do.

Indiana has been permanently stained in the eyes of the nation, because of one ambitious governor’s attempt to legalize discrimination. While standing at the podium and breathing like an asthmatic Darth Vader, Pence claimed that he never anticipated the public backlash over a law legalizing discrimination. For this reason alone, the Hoosier State deserves better than Mike Pence.

72 Replies to “In Press Conference Train Wreck Mike Pence Crumbles Trying Defend Religious Freedom Law”

  1. This law is so open ended anyone can discriminate against anyone due to their supposed religious beliefs. A doctor can deny birth control to a patient, an EMT can deny services to some one he or she believes is evil, any number of things. This law was based on the Hobby Lobby decision and that was all about control of a company over its work force when it can to reproduction (war on women).
    Make no mistake, the gay part is just the icing on the cake.

  2. Morning Joe was defending Pence and the law this morning. After Pence’s performance today how could anyone defend him?

  3. Pence didn’t crumble, in fact he appeared defiant, insisting that his bill is the same as the 1993 RFRA Bill Clinton signed. He lied.

    The bill Clinton singed was to prevent the GOVERNMENT from interfering with religious freedom. The bill passed by Indiana allows both individuals AND businesses to use their religious belief to deny service to someone not of their belief.

    You decide.

  4. Gov. Pence keeps blaming everyone else for ‘misunderstanding’ Indiana’s new discrimination law. There’s no misunderstanding we see exactly what they’re doing and there’s no fixing this short of repealing this hateful new law. Pence’s explanation is empty & hollow.

  5. Not only does the Indiana version of RFRA extend protection to corporations it allows discrimination in employment and lodging.

    In addition to removing corporations from coverage the only “real” fix for the State is to recognize LBGT as a protected class.

  6. He’s putting up smoke and mirrors to deflect his total ineptness and ignorance.

    He’s also in a slight panic mode since Indianastan has lost conventions and meetings over this.

    He’s so ignorant to know what damage this has done to Indianastan.

    Tea bags are really stupid.

  7. After digesting this train-wreck of a new law, I have to admit that I’m shocked the GOP claims to have a conscience. I always thought they didn’t care who they did business with as long as they made a buck.

  8. Pathetic. That is the only word I can think of. The boycotts need to continue unless and until the law is fully repealed. He keeps repeating the lie that the bill was not intended to allow discrimination while the leaders of his legislature admit that it does.

  9. I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but whoever set up his mike also picked up his breathing. It was like listening to the respiration on a lie detector test, lol!

  10. He has a law degree. Can he not look at the federal law signed by President Clinton and see the differences? He is surrounded by hundreds of lawyers that work in the state capital and not one sees the difference?

    He and his repug teabaggers knew exactly what they were doing. That is why he signed it behind closed doors. That signing the bill picture makes be sick. Religious persecution my ass!

  11. Exactly and everyone needs to get the message out that while the obvious discrimination against LGBTQ is a focal point, there is much more buried in this highly deceptive attempt at overruling Federal law. This is all about State Superiority and opening loopholes for a wide variety of legal challenges.

  12. I would like him to explain the two photos with the different groups relative to him signing the bill. Let’s hear that one. Who was present in these two groups and what do they stand for?

  13. And yet he will probably be re-elected when his term is up. Why can’t we seem to get to the heart of the matter and figure out why such extreme ideologists are still getting the votes, or that their opponents are not getting the votes?

  14. I didn’t hear the question that he said he had no comment on. I watched the thing and he was blaming every national media outlet, but taking up for the Indiana outlets that stand with him. The Indy Star didn’t on this matter. He also tried to say everyone was stupid but him, and blamed the Indiana people somewhat. He also had to throw the ” I am not a bigot because I have a black friend in congress” routine, but failed to use the ” I have gay and lesbian friends” line.

  15. Frightened old bigots just love this shit, it’s like crack to them.

    And their offspring are just like them.

    They cannot practice their bigotry all by themselves, oh no – these chickenshits must be politically validated as well.

    Time for some consequences – be a bigot if your brain has turned to vulcanized rubber and you cannot help yourself, but it’ll cost ya.

  16. Hatred is the fuel of fear, and for white conservatives their hatred of anyone who is different masks the fear attached to the realization that their America is never coming back.

  17. Pence was raised by the Golden Rule

    “Them what has the gold makes the rules”
    “Do unto others before they can do unto you.”
    ALWAYS stand by your principals… unless it starts costing you gold.

  18. Proofread your texts before publishing them. “Pence never said that law the was wrong.” This distracts from your message and lessens the impact!

  19. what a sad, sad day for America, freedom, democracy, and the constitution. these rightwing conservative jerks are so out of touch, so unable to grasp reality, are so sealed in their hateful bubbles of ignorance , arrogance, and paranoia- it makes me sick to my stomach. they dont get it. they never will get. they all must be shown the door. folks, November 2016 cannot get here soon. these rightwing clowns are disgraceful and have humiliated this country every single damn day for the last six years straight. this has to end!

  20. America do not stop the backlash. we must nip this in the bud. we must crush this movement. we must stand against this hate. we must make it so any other conservative an religious right idiots won’t ever think of trying something like this again. stay angry. stay vocal. stay informed. boycott Indiana until every single word of that law is repealed.

  21. congrats Indiana. one lunatic conservative rightwing fringe idiot has single handedly destroyed your image and reputation and has cost your state tens of millions of dollars so a few homophobic a-holes feel better about themselves.

  22. Patricia Rodríguez, pay no attention to thumbs down to your comments. They’re either done by paid trolls or you hit a raw nerve in someone. The rest of us appreciate your thoughts & comments.

  23. “I have a black friend in Congress”. Well, ok guvna’, I love animals, just look in my freezer. I got 10 whole chickens and a lobster. On national TV lying to the nation, the Republican way.[wink]

  24. If Pence didn’t want this horrendous bill to be perceived as discriminatory and homophobic, why did he sign it in private, behind closed doors, then release a photo of him signing it surrounded by homophobes?

  25. .some of the people in the picture with Pence when he signed this crap behind closed doors…..Micah Clark believes that being gay is a treatable disorder and publically raged against a lesbian high school student who wore a tuxedo to her prom….Eric Miller distributed a fear flier falsely claiming that pastors could be jailed for preaching against homosexuality…Curt Smith equates homosexuality with bestiality. He helped write the bill!

  26. Love the Darth Vader comparison very apropos. I trust Pence like the character Darth Vader, do you?

  27. No he didn’t bring out the “John Lewis” card. Jaw dropping stupid.

    Oh, and nobody told Pence that when you’re in a hole stop digging.

  28. It’s just “gay” money today more so than “black” money. It use to be “black” money. Businesses didn’t care how much money they could make, black people would not be served, sold to or lived next to. With bigots, some things do trump money.

  29. CW, I understand your perplexity. You need to speak with someone who lives and breaths the One And Only True Religion, as each religion seems to claim. Talk to someone who was brought up in a religion but has left it as an adult. This is it in a nutshell: We (in this religion) are saved and everybody else is all going to Hell; convert or defeat them with our agenda. It seems irrelevant to them that they live in a country that is not founded on their religion.

  30. Some GOP/TPers seem to forget that many of us have long memories and can connect issues. When Pence went to Selma with Rep. Lewis, you’d best believe it was calculated to serve his interest in running for the presidency in the near future. He thinks some of us are stupid enough to believe he wants us all to be treated the same just because he went to Selma with Rep. Lewis. I guess it hasn’t occurred to him that Rep. Lewis knows exactly what/who Pence is and would never vote for him should he ever run for POTUS. People like Pence are focused on optics and get upset with those of us who notice substance and call them out for trying to use optics to promote bad policies and laws. Anyone who discriminates against any other American or group of Americans is not a patriot and has no love for the Constitution. They pay lip-service to it, but when it comes to complying with everything in it,they want to change it and carve out ways for some to discriminate against others.

  31. I don’t play the thumbs up/thumbs down game but I just happened along and I can guess why you got a few down votes.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for a few of the D.C. Circuits have supported the right
    to use the federal RFRA to defend against private lawsuits where the government isn’t a party.

    You forgot that part.

  32. So, if a Muslim owner of a store posting a sign saying Christians and Jews were no longer welcome, that would be okay too right?
    That’s how the law would seem to read; or is it only allowing Christians to be bigots? Hell, why should discrimination discriminate? :)

  33. So if the federal law already governs these religious rights, why do individual states need to make new laws? Do they know better?

  34. This is actually a response to Charlie. The fact that the Appeals Court later accepted the law as an excuse to discriminate does not mean the laws original intent was for that to happen. The Indiana laws intent for that purpose is obvious. Try that line where it might pass the smell test, not here.

  35. Pence saying overreach by the ACA bullied his state into
    drafting their version of a RFL was like Flip Wilson’s “the
    devil (POTUS) made me do it.” An obvious pandering to
    his anti-administraton base. This stuffed suit fancys him-
    self as some kind of heroic champion of homophobia,
    but didn’t think educated folks would call him out. Now
    Pence is exposed as the hoosier hoodsman he actually
    is for all to see.

  36. Mike Pence has the EXACT same mannerisms when it comes to public speaking. They both walk to the podium/lectern and stand silent while moving papers about or straighten them. Conservatism is Fascism’s little brother.

  37. The fact that the Appeals Court later accepted the law as an excuse to discriminate does not mean the laws original intent was for that to happen.
    The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 8th, 9th and D.C. Circuits have all come out in favor of allowing discrimination under the federal RFRA? And that the exercise of religion excuses bigotry?

    I think not.

  38. No you are wrong as usual. The Federal law states that the government cant discriminate. I wish you baggers could read

  39. I’m somewhat of an expert on Indiana politics — born here, raised here and lived here all my life. (I do live in one of those few small pockets of Democratic majority in local politics.) I’ve been embarrassed by my state before (we were the first to legalize ALEC-written “stand your ground” law,) but this time, I’m mortified.

    Indiana had the lowest voter turnout in the country — 26% — and even though I’ve never missed an Election Day in my life, the GOP has concocted a HUGE majority in our legislature. People may remember when our small Democratic minority literally fled the state (to Illinois) to deny the GOPers a quorum several years ago. I was proud of them.

    At this time, I’m thoroughly embarrassed and disgusted. While I love my Hoosier state, I’m encouraging in-staters and outsiders to keep up the boycotts! Keep that pressure on the ugly bigotry the GOP majority values so much! — raising fist in the air, for solidarity! —

  40. The Federal law states that the government cant discriminate.
    And if you want the state law in Indiana or any other state to be exactly the same, the answer isn’t to fight against the RFRA.
    This really comes down to the lack of legal understanding. If a business in Indiana wanted to discriminate against gays, THEY DON’T NEED the RFRA to do it. If a business wanted to discriminate against gays, it can merely avail itself of the same laws that existed in Indiana last week, last month, last year, a decade ago, fifty years ago or a century ago!
    The answer – if you want to ensure that the LGBT community has legal protections – isn’t to advocate against the RFRA. If you want to protect against this type of discrimination, YOU MUST MAKE SEXUAL ORIENTATION A PROTECTED CLASS…just like race, gender, and national origin.

  41. As a Hoosier, I can assure you that the “religious beliefs” of some pharmacists wI’ll enable them to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control hormones, even if the purpose of the prescription is aimed at helping or curing some other condition.

    Yes, some of them are just THAT ignorant. It won’t be long, if this Law isn’t repealed, that we’ll be seeing it happen.

  42. Those people (in the PRIVATE signing) were not representatives.

    They were the ignorant jerks who are LOBBYISTS For the discrimination law. See how happy they are?

    Those nuns make me want to puke.

  43. “He has a law degree. Can he not look at the federal law signed by President Clinton and see the differences? He is surrounded by hundreds of lawyers that work in the state capital and not one sees the difference?”

    They’re tea baggers….enough said.

  44. I meant to say that Mike Pence and Adolph Hitler have the same method and mannerisms. The comment could not be edited, I hope this clears things up.

  45. Since Pence pointed at John Lewis as his “ally,” I hope it prompts John Lewis to publicly state how he feels about Mike Pence’s disgusting new law.

  46. Hey, if anyone is interested in Indiana’s history of blatant racism, Google “D.C. Stephenson.”

    Head of the biggest KKK group in the country in the 1930’s and eventually convicted of murdering a young woman he repeatedly raped and beat while holding her as his captive.

  47. “Mike Pence and Adolph Hitler have the same method and mannerisms.”

    No way, Joe Uhl! I’ve seen footage of Adolf Hitler, and let me tell you, this Mike Pence is no Hitler. He does not even have the mannerisms and methods — Hitler was much more flamboyant and like Huey Long very much a ham; Gov Pence on the other hand, sounds like an extremely boring evangelical preacher.

  48. Edm, I should clarify for you. What I meant to say is that they start their oration with silence to let anticipation build. After that silence Adolph Hitler’s style of speaking is more like Ted Nugent or any of the Reich Wing Conservative loons that flitter about aimlessly.

  49. “I don’t believe for a minute that it was the intent of the Assembly to create a license to discriminate”

    Is he that stupid? Or was he lying?

  50. Once again, conservatives willfully disregard the facts and simply keep parroting erroneous information, over and over again. This strategy apparently does well within their number – outsiders however are confounded by having to refute false claims over and over again, all relevant facts once again falling on deaf ears. It’s crazy making after awhile. I guess that’s the point. The Rush Limbaughs of the world have their base very well trained – the talking head expounds, the followers repeat. And repeat.

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