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Mike Pence Is Not Here To Answer Questions

Indiana governor Mike Pence is either a deeply stupid man, or he's been convinced that the deeply stupid Good Christians of his state are truly facing dire harm from having to provide services to, or acknowledge the existence, of LGBT people. Or he's just a liar. According to the available evidence, the answer is "all of the above." Pence spent the weekend standing athwart intelligence and screaming "STOP!", most notably on the George Stephanopoulos Sunday Teevee Funtimes Mimosa Hour, where he attempted to defend his decision to sign Indiana's new Fuck The Gays bill, known by its supporters as a totally necessary safeguard protecting their precious religious freedom.


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Pence first claims that this is a totally normal law, because the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was signed 20 years ago by President Bill (Democrat) Clinton (Democrat), and because Illinois has one too, which was supported by then state Senator Barack (Kenyan) Obama (Muslim Christian-hater queer). So how could Indiana be in the wrong?! The rest of us, according to Pence, have just been misinformed. Stephanopoulos points out that a big difference between Indiana and other states that have these laws is that LGBT people are not covered by Indiana nondiscrimination laws. Pence is having none of these questions, and instead chooses to recite the talking points the American Family Association or whoever else crammed down his throat, like a big anti-gay penis.

So what is this law really about, according to Pence? Government overreach! You know, that thing the government has been doing, with Obamacare and Hobby Lobby and all of that. Ever since we legalized healthcare and gayness, poor, pitiful conservative Christians have been denied their freedom to worship Jesus in their preferred way, by burning crosses on faggots' lawns. This law simply ensures that they can do that without repercussions. "Is tolerance a two-way street or not?" asks Pence, still not answering any questions, as questions have a well-known liberal bias. If the hateful wingnut Christians have to tolerate the existence of gays, the gays should have to tolerate the existence of state-funded gay-bashing. It's only fair.

Stephanopoulos continues to press Pence on the issue, asking him to either confirm or deny that florists and bakers can now refuse to flower or frost gay weddings, because Jesus. Pence knows this is a "gotcha" question, and instead bemoans the fact that we are even talking about this. "It's just a question, sir," says Stephanopoulos, like a smug liberal asking Sarah Palin what she read most recently. Pence is mad at the "shameless rhetoric" around this law, and about the fact that people are making this about just "one particular issue." And he's right! Indiana's Fuck The Gays law could also be used as a Fuck The Blacks law, or Fuck The Muslims, or really anything a bigot wants to use that day to correctly worship Jesus. But that's not the focus, really.

Regardless, please understand that Mike Pence and Indiana wingnuts are the victims here. The media has been mean and shameless to the good people of Indiana, and Mike Pence is not going to stand for it. Let them have their God Hates Fags marches in peace, please!

Of course, to be clear, this law very much guarantees that wingnut bakers and flower people (and any other business really) can refuse service to gays, according to state Senator Scott Schneider, who is one of the bill's authors, and who also is deeply fucking stupid:

Yes, because if you sell a cake to a gay couple, you might as well be throwing your legs in the air and helping them consummate their marriage, and Jesus will send you to hell for that.

For more evidence that this law is clearly and intentionally about hatin' on the gays, let's refer to this tweet from well-known gaywad organization GLAAD, which shows just exactly who was giving Pence a reacharound when he signed the law:

Pence's Argument About Every Other State Having These Laws Is Bullshit

Pence's argument that these laws have been around for 20 years, and that therefore Indiana is no different, is worth addressing. Josh Marshall explains at Talking Points Memo that there are two big differences here. For one thing, these laws didn't used to so explicitly target gay people. Secondly, anti-gay stuff that flew in 1995 simply doesn't fly these days:

The fact that other states have so called "religious freedom restoration acts" is at best misleading. The movement to push these laws goes back at least two decades. But until quite recently they were not specifically, almost exclusively, focused on gays and lesbians. Two things have changed. In the last eighteen months, social conservatives have recognized that they've lost the public battle over gay rights. Marriage equality will almost certainly be the law of the land nationwide in the near future. And the rulings that set the stage for that change will likely knock down all remaining legally sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians in the coming years. So social conservatives have retreated to a defensive action of accepting legally sanctioned equality but trying to create a carve out of discrimination under the guise of 'religious liberty.' The second thing is Hobby Lobby and that the signal that the Supreme Court will accept a concept of religious liberty far more expansive than anything seen in the past.

The current make-up of the Supreme Court has truly mucked up this issue. By saying that corporations are people in Citizens United, they paved the way for corporations in Indiana and elsewhere to have their own deeply held religious beliefs that require them to hate gay people. Indiana's new law very specifically allows corporations to discriminate against LGBT people, which, as The Atlantic points out, puts it at odds with the federal RFRA, and with every other state RFRA out there, save for South Carolina:

“Indiana is actually soon to be just one of 20 states with a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA,” the Post’s Hunter Schwarz wrote, linking to this map created by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The problem with this statement is that, well, it’s false. That becomes clear when you read and compare those tedious state statutes. If you do that, you will find that the Indiana statute has two features the federal RFRA — and most state RFRAs — do not. First, the Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.” The federal RFRA doesn’t contain such language, and neither does any of the state RFRAs except South Carolina’s; in fact, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, explicitly exclude for-profit businesses from the protection of their RFRAs.

The new Indiana statute also contains this odd language: “A person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a violation of this chapter may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding, regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.” Neither the federal RFRA, nor 18 of the 19 state statutes cited by the Post, says anything like this; only the Texas RFRA, passed in 1999, contains similar language.

Put very simply, Pence's argument that everybody else has had these same laws for 20 years is utter bullshit. Whether or not Pence knows it is bullshit is difficult to tell, because again, he is a very stupid man.

Pence said on Saturday that he would back legislation to get this law "clarified," but he did not seem interested in doing so when speaking to Stephanopoulos, explaining that neither he nor the mouthbreathing human-animal hybrids who elected him have any interest in expanding nondiscrimination protections to include LGBT people. Also, even if the law gets clarified for his little, deeply stupid brain, and he learns that yes, it's a license to discriminate against gay people, he's not interested in changing that:

“We're not going to change the law, 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, then I'm open to that. But we're not going to change the law."

Right, whatever that means.

MOAR BACKLASH!

As to the continuing backlash, the good news is that public opinion has changed so drastically on gay rights that Indiana is now, quite rightly, being scorned, shunned and mocked for its Fuck The Gays law. Since we last reported, the White House has asserted that Indiana's law is a big step backward, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has penned an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing against the law and other states' similar efforts.

On the business front, Seattle's mayor has banned state-funded travel to Indiana, and Connecticut's governor has announced plans to follow suit. Additionally, Indianapolis-based Angie's List has cancelled a planned $40 million expansion.

Oh, and Charles Barkley is telling the NCAA to move the Final Four out of Indianapolis. If Charles Fucking Barkley says your law sucks, it sucks.

[Raw Story/The Atlantic]

Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

Follow him on Twitter RIGHT HERE.

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