-- Indiana's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act will not be changing despite critics saying it allows business owners to discriminate against members of the LGBT community, state Gov. Mike Pence said today during an exclusive interview on ABC's "This Week."
Pence described the media coverage and opposition to the law as "shameless rhetoric," saying it strengthens the foundation of First Amendment rights rather than discriminates.
“We're not going to change the law," he said, "but if the general assembly in Indiana sends me a bill that adds a section that reiterates and amplifies and clarifies what the law really is and what it has been for the last 20 years, than I'm open to that."
When ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked Pence if the law allowed businesses like florists to refuse to work with gay or lesbian weddings, as critics have said, the governor said the situation has more to do with whether the government is involved.
"The question here is if there is a government action or a law that an individual believes impinges on their religious liberty, they have the opportunity to go to court, just as the Religious Freedom and Reformation Act that Bill Clinton signed allowed them, to go to court and the court would evaluate the circumstance under the standards articulated in this act," Pence said.
Pence touted bipartisan support for the law, saying that President Obama and Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi supported similar legislation.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the governor was in damage control mode.
“If you have to go back two decades to try to justify something that you're doing today, it may raise some questions about the wisdom of what you're doing,” he said on "This Week." "It should be easy for leaders in this country to stand up and say that it is wrong to discriminate against people just because of who they love."