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Governor's SOTS Civil-Rights Stance : 'Backpedaling,' Or Just Proper Caution?

Benson Kua

LGBT advocates say Governor Mike Pence in his State of the State Tuesday “shrugged his shoulders” and even “backpedaled” on providing the LGBT community protection from discrimination, but religious groups say Pence was properly cautious about the issue.

Reactions to the governor’s comments on the LGBT rights debate vary widely – some say his comments provided little real guidance to lawmakers.  Rhiannon Carlson, an LGBT Hoosier veteran, says she has no questions about Pence’s clarity.

“I think that I felt very unwelcome in my own state, a state that I was born and raised in, that I know people who’ve raised families, I have a family in,” says Carlson.

American Family Association of Indiana executive director Micah Clark doesn’t see any issues with clarity either.  He says when it comes to trying to balance LGBT rights with religious freedom, he thinks Pence held up a caution sign to the legislature:

“Well, I think he clearly indicated he would veto something that harms religious liberty and I think he hinted at the fact that these two are mutually exclusive,” says Clark. “Many people have told him that.”

Clark says lawmakers who might be unclear about the governor’s message should at least take away that the LGBT rights issue is one that should, at a minimum, be sent to a study committee this summer.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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