Indiana Governor Mike Pence, appearing on ABC’s This Week, pointed out that his state’s new religious-freedom law was no more than en echo of other bills endorsed by former President Bill Clinton and Barack Obama when he was an Illinois state senator.
Pence asserted, “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into federal law by President Bill Clinton more than 20 years ago. Indiana properly brought the same version that then state senator Barack Obama voted for in Illinois before our legislature.” As an Illinois state senator, Obama voted for a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which passed 56-0 and became law on July 1, 1998.
Indiana’s new bill states that the state may not pass laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to champion their religious beliefs. Gay rights activists are up in arms, and executives at some major companies have jumped on the LGBT bandwagon, including Apple and Salesforce.
Ironically, Hillary Clinton and President Obama’s aides to President Obama are also standing in line to slam Pence and Indiana; Hillary Clinton tweeted, “Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn’t discriminate against ppl bc of who they love.”
Yet the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed in 1993, was brought by Representative Chuck Schumer, now a New York senator; Bill Clinton signed it into law. In 1998, Obama voted aye on a law similar to Indiana’s.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on ABC’s This Week. “Look, if you have to go back two decades to try to justify something you are doing today, it may raise some questions about the wisdom of what you’re doing,” Obama has had no comment.