Lawmakers Disagree Whether RFRA Overshadowed 2015 Session

May 1, 2015

Gov. Mike Pence addresses concerns about the state's religious objections law a day after a poorly-received national interview about it on a Sunday TV talk show.
Credit Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Republican lawmakers and the governor say while the controversy around the religious freedom law overshadowed a part of the session, they’re confident its shadow will fade over time.  Democrats agree, but for a different reason.

Governor Mike Pence says he regrets not being able to foresee the controversy that erupted over the religious freedom law known as RFRA.

“And as I’ve said, I regret the difficulty that Indiana passed through during a time of great misunderstanding about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act," Pence says.

But he and GOP legislative leaders all say that the way lawmakers, in the wake of the RFRA fallout, finished the session by accomplishing their priorities shows that Indiana will move forward. 

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) says he’s taking away a different lesson: that 2015 is the beginning of the end of the Republican’s legislative supermajorities.

“Because the people of Indiana have seen the results of a single party stranglehold on state government and they are not pretty,” Pelath says.

Democrats say the only way to truly repair Indiana’s image is to protect LGBT Hoosiers in the state’s civil rights statute -- a debate they say Republicans won’t commit to having.