Time after time after time after time, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence refused to answer a yes or no question from George Stephanopoulos.
Including lies of omission and outrageously false equivalencies, Indiana's governor told at least four whoppers to ABC's audience.
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His first lie was the false equivalency he repeatedly made between the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of Illinois and Indiana. Illinois' act is balanced by the fact that the Land of Lincoln includes LGBTs as a protected class. Indiana, as Gov. Pence knows very well, does not, and Pence told Stephanopoulos that such protections are not on his "agenda."
Pence's second lie was his false parallel between the federal RFRA statute and Indiana's. There are at least three major differences between the two:
The bill is broader than its Federal counterpart in several ways. It explicitly protects the exercise of religion by entities as well as individuals. Its enumeration of entities includes "a corporation", without limiting this to closely-held companies. The bill's protections may be invoked when a person's exercise of religion is "likely" to be substantially burdened by government action, not just when it has been burdened.Pence's third lie was his specific misrepresentation that Indiana's RFRA "represents a foundational protection for individuals." Here's what the law actually says:
Pence's fourth lie, actually a rather clever bit of disingenuous shape-shifting, was that Indiana's RFRA "does not apply to disputes between individuals unless government action is involved." Here's what the statute really says:
SB 101 is substantially broader than the federal law. The so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) can only be invoked against government action. SB 101 goes much further, inviting discrimination by allowing religious beliefs to be raised as a defense in lawsuits and administrative proceedings brought by workers, tenants and customers who have suffered discrimination. In addition, SB 101 makes it easier to claim a burden on religious freedom than the federal RFRA by defining the “exercise of religion” as “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief."