Gov. Pence announces stance on civil rights debate, reactions roll in

A large group is in attendance of Gov. Mike Pence's State of the State address Tuesday night.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) After Gov. Mike Pence addressed the state Tuesday night in his State of the State address, many are reacting to his stance on expanding civil rights for gay and transgender Hoosiers.

For months, the governor has not revealed which way he would go on the issue, but he addressed the topic in the final minutes of his address. Pence said he met with people on all sides of the issue of expanding civil rights to include the LGBT community. He said Hoosiers do not tolerate discrimination. Ultimately, he had a message for lawmakers telling them as they debate the issue legislation must be consistent with the Indiana Constitution. He said he will not support any bill that diminishes the religious freedom of Hoosiers or interferes with Constitutional rights.

It came at no surprise to LGBTQ advocate and former state representative candidate Thad Gerardot.

“I think it was pretty obvious what he meant. He didn’t call for any laws. If you don’t want discrimination then why not pass a bill. There are dozens of other states that have this same exact bill and both sides are able to live together without any conflict,” Gerardot said.

Freedom Indiana also responded to the governor’s speech Tuesday night. The organization’s campaign manager Chris Paulsen said it was a “complete letdown” and after several months of listening to Hoosiers, the governor chose to “punt” the issue to lawmakers.

“But it also means we have our work cut out for us: We must redouble our efforts so that lawmakers craft a good bill to send to the Governor that makes it clear that gay and transgender people should not be fired, denied housing or turned away from public spaces because of who they are or whom they love,” Freedom Indiana campaign manager Chris Paulsen said.

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