‘Religious Freedom’ Isn’t Free – Indiana Spends $2 Million On PR To Fix RFRA Backlash

Governor Mike Pence is convinced that the controversy over Indiana’s legalized discrimination has passed and that brighter skies are ahead for his state.

Pence told reporters that “the difficult time that Indiana just passed through two weeks ago is behind us.”

Pence is under the impression that the passage of a couple of weeks of time has healed the wounds he created when he signed the bigoted law last month.  Or is he?

One day prior to his comments, Pence hired a global public relations firm to stem the bleeding and repair the state’s damaged reputation.  The firm, Porter Novelli, will rake in $2 million of taxpayer money for Pence’s lack of judgement.

The move comes after numerous businesses, sporting enterprises, and marketing firms called for an all-out boycott of Indiana after it was revealed that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act left the LGBT community open to discrimination with no legal recourse. Since then, Republican lawmakers have been forced to pass a revision that states that the legislation can’t be used to bypass ordinances that protect the LGBT community from discrimination in Indianapolis and 10 other cities.

The law stands as originally written in the rest of the state.

State Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) proposed an amendment to the state budget to have create a committee to study the possibility of adding statewide protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“This is an issue that’s not going to go away,” Lanane said. “We’re going to have to deal with it.”

Republicans shot down the amendment on a 40-10 party-line vote.

Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, also proposed an amendment to an unrelated bill in the House that would add statewide LGBT protections from discrimination in housing, employment, education and public accommodation. That effort failed on a 66-24 vote to uphold a ruling that it wasn’t closely enough related to the original bill.

It seems Indiana still has a very long way to go.

H/T: The Indy Star | Image: Charles Topher

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