Pence signs revisions to Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence pauses while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 in National Harbor, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE/WISH) A week after signing Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indiana Governor Mike Pence has signed an amendment clarifying the bill.

In a release from his office, Pence said, “The freedom of religion for every Hoosier is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States and in the Indiana Constitution, which reads, ‘No law shall, in any case whatever, control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience.’ For generations, these protections have served as a bulwark of religious liberty for Hoosiers and remain a foundation of religious liberty in the State of Indiana, and that will not change.”

The governor tweeted Thursday evening saying he hopes the state can move forward now that the bill has been signed:

Thursday afternoon the House voted 66-30 in favor of the revision. Shortly after, the Senate passed the bill 34-16 in favor of the modification.

Amanda Banks (R-Columbia City) was one of the senators who voted against the changes to RFRA. She was among the 10 people who originally co-Authored the bill.

The majority of those who voted against the revisions, including all 10 senate democrats, were calling for a complete repeal of the bill.

Other senators in our area, including David Long, Dennis Kruse and Liz Brown voted in favor of the revisions.

Complete Coverage | Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana 

On Thursday afternoon the Indiana House and Senate passed the bill that prevents discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The protections are included in a bill that was unveiled by GOP leaders who surrounded themselves with people from the sports, tourism, and business communities as well as gay rights activists.

All of them believe that the bill should quell the firestorm of protest that was produced by the so-called RFRA law signed by Governor Mike Pence a week ago.

“The world is welcome here and once they come they will be well received and treated as equals,” said Jim Morris of the Indiana Pacers. “Everybody is welcome in our city and our state.”

“The healing needs to begin right now,” said former mayor Bart Peterson, who is now a Lilly executive. “For the first time ever the words sexual orientation and gender identity appear in the Indiana statute, or they will after this law is passed, in the context of nondiscrimination.”

Also on hand was Salesforce CEO Scott McCorkle who threatened to move employees out of Indiana if there is no fix.

“Today is a positive first step,” he said, “but it is a first step in a larger discussion as we acknowledge the importance of equal rights for all.”

“We know that this is only the beginning,” said gay activist Chris Douglas. “The end is that the equality guaranteed to all other Hoosiers through the Indiana civil rights code is guaranteed also to us.”

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