Former Chief Justice, U.S. Rep. weigh in on RFRA

Senate Bill 101, also known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed by Governor Mike Pence on March 26, 2015.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Following the national backlash surrounding RFRA, we caught up with a former U.S. Representative and Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court at IPFW Wednesday to get their opinions. As you know, they say this is a huge issue for the state. Plus, other political experts at the university talked with us about how this may impact Governor Pence’s chances of being re-elected as well as landing a presidential nomination.

“This is a serious matter for the state of Indiana, and the politicians surely know that,” Former U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton said.

Many are asking how Indiana can gain its reputation back. Former U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton says it will take the legislature and average people talking with each other to figure out the best solution.

“Understand that the community has a problem to solve that no one person has the answer to it. We have to work together to try to get some kind of solution that we can all live with.”

Former Chief Justice on the Indiana Supreme Court, Randall Shepard, says Hoosiers need to continue to show visitors how welcoming and understanding Indiana is.

“Somebody just said this to me the other day, ‘I was struck by how nice people are. At the hotel this morning the woman who was serving me was effervescent about what do you need for breakfast,” Shepard said.

As far as what this means for Pence’s chances of re-election or better yet landing a presidential nomination, experts with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics shared their perspectives.

“Hurts him as governor for sure. You know, I mean people pulling out of your state is never a good thing,” political expert Mike Wolf said.

“On the national level, that’s where that combative approach probably helped him quite a bit. In fact, I would be willing to bet that by Sunday afternoon he was looking at numbers going up in Iowa and South Carolina among primary voters,” political expert Andy Downs said.

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