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tv   At This Hour With Berman and Bolduan  CNN  March 31, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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of the indianapolis star editorial. it reads very simply, fix this now. and right now it all comes down to this press conference and what the governor is going to say and what will happen next. let's go straight to indianapolis first off. rosa flores is there for us. what are you expecting to hear from the governor? >> reporter: you know, kate, we don't know exactly what the governor is going to say, but what i can tell you is that republicans and the governor have been playing an interesting dance since yesterday with republican leadership saying yesterday that not exactly that the governor had bombed interview with abc, but saying you know, he didn't do a very good job at answering abc's questions. that's why we're holding a press conference today. that's why it's fascinating that now the governor is coming forward now in front of reporters and holding this conferen conference. but republicans did make it
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clear that one of their goals now is to clarify the language of the bill. take a listen to what they said. >> what we're looking at right now is specific clarity to remove the misconception that that this allows the denial of services to any hoosier. >> the fact that he didn't for whatever reason, we're setting the record straight today. >> until now the governor has not minced words, making it very clear he has been for the clarification of the language of the bill, but in no way, up to now, has he said that he is for clearing this law from the books. so kate and john, it's going to be fascinating to hear what he says, because democrats have been pushing for the repeal of this bill, and while they don't control chambers here, you know that they have the support of a lot of people from around the country. >> and everyone is paying attention, but what is the way to fix it without throwing it
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out? that's why all eyes are on the governor right now. rosa, thank you very much. we're going to be sticking very close. we're watching for that press conference to start. >> let's talk more now about the politics t law, thens ifs sochlt many implications about what you're about to see here with governor pence speaking any minute. >> joining us to discuss, chief political analyst gloria borger, cnn political columnist, indianapolis star opinion editor and cnn political commentator, margaret hoover. margaret is president of the american unity fund, which actively lobbied for changes to protect lgbt rights. fl flora, let me go to you. i have a special interest in this as a hoosier. i care about what my state looks like and what's going on in my state, as well as anybody does looking from the outside in. but what is going on here? did pence just underestimate what would be coming at him? he's a smart politician. >> i think pence and the
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legislature did. these religious freedom laws were originally intended to protect minorities from burdensome regulations against them. and what's happened here is that over the years these laws have been used in a kind of perversion to discriminate. there are states that have these kinds of laws on the books, but there are lots of states that also make it very clear that you cannot use these laws to discriminate against, for example, homosexuals. so in an effort to protect religious groups, you end up discriminating against other groups. what's different about the indiana law is that it treats for-profit businesses as churches. and maybe there's a way, and i'm not -- and i'm not a legal expert here, but maybe there's a way for the legislature to say
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this is not meant to discriminate against gays. period. whether it's making them a protected class, i'm not quite sure how that would be done. >> here's exactly how it would be done. how it would be done, two amendments were suggested to this law that were voted down by the legislature. one amendment would have said, fine, have your freedom restoration act. we respect religious freedom, but we're going to except civil rights laws. so civil rights laws will be protected. another amendment voted down would say fine, we're going to say it's in the interest of illinois to eliminate discrimination. in indiana. >> not illinois. >> and if they said that as an amendment, it's in the interest of the state to eliminate discrimination, then it might have passed the heightened scrutiny test when a state of lawsuits open up, because this is going to be thrown to the courts for judges to apply heightened scrutiny. >> is tim with us yet? let me go to ross. ross, you write today in "the new york times," actually it's very interesting, you acknowledge, which some
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conservatives don't, let's be clear about this, that this law in indiana was driven largely by people concerned about issues such as will florists have to sell flowers or make wedding cakes for gay weddings. you say that was the impotence for this law here in part. but what are critics missing here? you also say there are larger issues at play here that we have to consider. >> well, i mean, first of all, critics are just getting the genesis, history and design of these laws wrong. and gloria, with all due respect, your description of the law is basically inaccurate. the rfra laws have been used, not as licenses to discriminate in any meaningful way. almost all of the cases involved that have reached the courts have involved, you know, sheiks carrying daggers onto plane flights and muslims who don't want to cut their beards in prison and so on. what we have at the moment is in jurisdictions where same sex marriage or same-sex civil
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ceremonies are legal, whether or not people involved in the wedding industry, wedding venn tors, bakers, florists, so on, with but in cases where they don't want to par tticipate in wedding, should they be fined with or without a day in court? all the law would potentially do in this circumstance is give them a day in court. it doesn't say anything remotely about how the judge would ultimately decide, and frankly the history of the rulings suggest probably the florists and bakers and vendors would ultimately lose. all it's doing is giving them a date in court. and on the issue of for-profit churches, the first amendment issues clearly apply to churches. there's no debate about whether churches should be required to perform same-sex ceremonies. the question is about private parties. most court rulings -- >> ross, give us a second. governor pence. >> governor mike pence here about to make an address and potentially answer questions on
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the controversy swirling around his state that has really become a national discussion. let's listen. >> thank you all for coming. it's been a tough week here in the hoosier state. but we're going to move forward. as governor, i have the privilege of serving the greatest people on earth, the people of indiana. let me say first and foremost, i was proud to sign the religious freedom restoration act last week. i believe religious liberty, as president clinton said when he signed the federal law in 1993, i believe religious liberty is our first freedom. and it is vital. to millions of americans who cherish faith, as i and my family do. but it's also vital to the framework of freedom in our
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nation. and this legislation was designed to ensure the vitality of religious liberty in the hoosier state. i believe they are entitleded to the same protections that have been in place in our courts nor 28 years and have been laws in other states. but clearly, clearly there's been misunderstanding and confusion and mischaracterization of this law. and i come before you today to say how we're going to address that. we've been working over the last several days literally around the clock. been talking with people across the state of indiana, talking to business leaders, and talking to organizations around the country who have spent time in indiana, enjoyed the hospitality of the people of indiana, and we've been listening. but let me say first and foremost, as i've said to each
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one of them, the religious freedom restoration act was about religious liberty. not about discrimination. as i said last week, had this law been about legalizing discrimination, i would have vetoed it. this law does not give anyone a license to discriminate. the religious freedom restoration act in indiana does not give anyone the right to deny services to anyone in this state. it is simply a balancing test used by our federal courts and jurisdictions across the country for more than two decades. now let me say on the subject of the bill itself. i don't believe for a minute that it was the intention of the general assembly to create a license to discriminate or right to deny services to gays, lesbians or anyone else in this state. and it certainly wasn't my intent.
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but i can appreciate that that's become the perception. not just here in indiana, but all across this country. and we need to confront that, and confront it boldly. in a way that respects the interests of all involved. personal reflection for a moment, if i can. i the way i was raised was like most hoosiers, with the golden rule. that you should do unto others as you would have them do unto you. and i believe in my heart of hearts that no one should be harassed or mistreated because of who they are, who they love or what they believe. and i believe every hoosier shares that conviction. but as i've said, we've got a
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perception problem here, because some people have a different view. and we intend to correct that. after much reflection, and in consultation with leadership of the general assembly, i've come to the conclusion that it would be helpful to move legislation this week to makes it clear that this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone. let me say that again. i think it would be helpful, and i would like to see on my desk before the end of this week legislation that is added to the the religious freedom restoration act in indiana that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone. we want to make it clear that indiana is open for business. we want to make it clear that hoosier hospitality is not a slogan, it's our way of life.
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it's the reason why people come here from around the world and they come back again and again and again. because hoosiers are the kindest, most generous, most decent people in the world. let me say i believe this is a clarification, but it's also a fix. it's a fix of a bill that through mischaracterization and confusion has come to be greatly misunderstood. and i'm determined to address this this week and to move forward as a state. and i know we will. indiana has come under the harsh glare of criticism from around the country. and some of us get paid to be under that harsh glare and that criticism. so we don't complain about it.
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but the things that have been said about our state have been at times deeply offensive to me. and i will continue to use every effort to defend the good and decent people of indiana. i think it's important that we take this action this week. i've spoken to legislative leaders all the way through the last hour, and we're going to be working to make that happen. with that i'll be happy to take questions. go ahead. >> i would like to ask you again, under this law is it legal for [inaudible] to deny service to same-sex couples? >> this law does not give anyone a license to deny services to gay and lesbian couples.
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and look, i -- i could have handled that better this weekend. but going into that interview this weekend, i was just determined to set the record straight about what this law really is. and i'm very pleased that the reporting about the religious freedom restoration act has significantly improved over the last several days. i think there is a growing public understanding that indiana has passed a law here that mirrors the federal law that president clinton signed, and it mirrors the laws and statutes of some 30 states. i'm grateful for that. but on sunday my intention was to set that record straight. but i want to be clear on that point, and thank you for the opportunit opportunity. [ inaudible question ]
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>> absolutely not. religious liberty is vitally important in the life of our nation. and to ensure that hoosiers have the same level of scrutiny when they believe their religious liberty is intruded upon in our state courts, that they already have in our federal courts, and that 30 other states have had for some time was simply the right thing to do. it's that important. and i was pleased to have signed it. and it standby the law. [ inaudible question ] >> jim, i've never supported that. and i want to be clear. it's not on my agenda. but i think it's a completely separate question. i mean, we are talking about the religious freedom separation act, which is about restoring the highest level of scrutiny in our state courts, with matters
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of government action intrude upon the religious liberty of hoosiers, that's where i want to stay focused. but i do believe that moving legislation this week, that would make it clear this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone with the appropriate -- [ inaudible question ] >> that's still under discussion. >> governor, are you accepting [inaudibl [inaudible]. >> was i expecting this kind of backlash? heavens no. to be candid with you, when i first heard about the legislation, heard that it was already federal law for more than 20 years, heard that it was
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the law through statute and court decisions and 30 jurisdictions, in the wake of last year's supreme court case, the hobby lobby case, i just thought it was an appropriate addition to indiana statutes. it moved through the legislative process with good debate, but not a considerable amount of controversy. and so candidly when this erupted last week, even though i had made my position clear weeks agatha i would sign the be bill without much discussion, i was taken aback. and i have to tell you that the gross mischaracterizations about this bill early on and some of the reckless reporting by some in the media about what this bill was all about was deeply disappointing to me and to millions of hoosiers.
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but we're making progress on that. i think we're turning back. i'm grateful for the expressions of support that are being given from around the country, including many in the media, that are articulating what this is all about. and we'll continue to move forward on that. >> governor, a lot of concern here in indiana is exemption. just to make it clear people -- [inaudible] are you making sure that language is specific in tho? >> let me say that the smear here against this bill is that it created a license to discriminate, or license to deny services. and that's just completely false.
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and baseless. professor who i quoted in my editorial in the wall street journal said it well. there's no license to discriminate. and so i think the proper legislative remedy is to focus on the perception that has been created by the mischaracterization, and to make it clear that this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone. yes, please. >> thank you, governor. speaking of the backlash, those are safe passages in the late '90s and 2000s. do you think that explains the backlash? >> i would leave it -- i think
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the -- you mean the public reaction? >> right. >> i think it's explained by the fact that this was grossly mischaracterized by advocates who oppose the bill and also by, frankly, some very sloppy reporting for the first several days. so i really do believe that. i mean, look, if i read some of the stuff about this bill, i would have had the same concern that millions of hoosiers have had and millions across the country have had. it just isn't so. i mean, when president clinton signed this bill in 1993, the american civil liberties union said this enthe civil freedom act was the most important legislation considered by congress since the first amendment was approved. okay. is when then state senator barack obama voted for this bill
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in illinois, it was with broad and bipartisan support. one of the great pieces of the legislative history of the religious freedom restoration act is that his way of bringing people together consensus, this has been broadly supported on a bipartisan basis. so i would suggest to you that what explains the concerns is the mischaracterization. and in very real sense, i think we need to focus specifically on this perception that this creates some license to discriminate. and that's what i'm calling on the legislature to do. [ inaudible question ]
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>> i think the language is still being worked out. okay. what i want to make sure is it is clear to hoosiers, which are the people that i serve, and frankly clear to anyone that would come to visit our state, that there is in this legislation no license to discriminate, no right to deny services, and, i think we can -- i think we can develop that language. [ inaudible question ] look, this law does not give anyone a license to
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discriminate. this law i signed last week does not give anyone the right to deny services. the language that i'm talking about adding i believe would be consistent with what the general assembly intended and certainly what i intended in this case. back there. back there. >> if the l [ inaudible question ] >> i'm calling on the general assembly to send me a bill that focuses on the issue here. that focuses on the smear that's been levelled against this law and against the people of indiana. and that is that somehow through our legislative process we enacted legislation that created a license to discriminate. that is -- that is so offensive to me as a hoosier. and i know it's offensive to people across the state of
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indiana, that we have to correct that. first, just because it's not true. and secondly, we have to correct that per sengs. because it has to do with the perception of our state and our businesses. eric? [ inaudible question ] >> i just think we need to make it very clear. irrespective of whether those ordnances exist in a community or not, that this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone. okay. and that's what i have to say
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about that. go. [ inaudible question ] >> the the intend of the law, well, the intent of the law when president clinton signed it, the intent of the law when i signed it, was to give the courts in our state the highest level of scrutiny in cases where people feel that their religious liberty is being infringed upon by government action. i'm sorry. let's start here. >> you talk about the misperceptions out there. the smear, how does the state of indiana get its good name back? >> well, first, the state of indiana has a good name. this law has been smeared.
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but look, we're going to mark our 200th anniversary here next year. and the name and reputation of the people of indiana is strong and secure, but the reputation of this law and the intentions of our legislature have been called into question. and i believe we need to deal with it. i believe we need to deal with it this week, and we will. we will fix this, and with he move forward. >> governor -- >> that's what hoosiers do. [ inaudible question ] no comment. tom. [ inaudible question ]
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>> well, i want to make it clear in the law that the religious freedom restoration act does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone. that this is about, and i've said before to people and i want to stipulate the coverage on this has gotten better and more fair. but early on there was some really reckless and irresponsible reporting about this. but, i just would submit to you that it's important that we address the principle allegation here with legislation in this law that makes it clear that it does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone. good morning. [ inaudible question ]
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>> maureen, i wasn't talking about you. >> all right, thank you. >> and frankly, can i just say this, i don't want to less the indiana press off the hook here, but i will anyway. i think the indiana press has had this right from early on. but some of the national reporting on this has been ridiculous. i -- i encourage you to do a quick goobl search on this license to discriminate businesses. you'll find all of it. yeah. well i've been on the phone. talking to business leaders, our teams has been talking to business leaders.
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i've been reaching out to the leaders of associations, and corporations around the country. just setting the record straight about what this law actually does, and what our intention is in passing it, and our determination to correct the perception that has taken hold. [ inaudible question ] >> well, i think the more relevant event was the hobby lobby case by the supreme court. which is a case in point of the value of the religious freedom restoration act. it really is. obamacare was passed into law. it included mandates on health care coverage for businesses, and hobby lobby, and i also might add the university of
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notre dame among others filed federal lawsuits. to challenge obamacare under the religious freedom restoration act. the supreme court and the the majority of opinion last year upheld the right of a private business owner under the religious freedom act, citing the act. but here's the background. in 1993, the federal law was signed by president clinton. in 1997, the supreme court of the united states ruled that the act did not apply to states that did not have their own statute. and that's why you have 19 states that have adopted statutes. you have about 11 other states that have adopted it in the the case law. the balancing test, the
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standard. indiana never did. in the wake of the hobby lobby opinion, to ensure in our courts we have the same scrutiny when their religious liberty they believe is infringed upon, the general assembly moved this legislation, and that was the precipitating event. yes, sir? [ inaudible question ] people are entitled to their opinions. but this law does not create a license to discriminate. and this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone. i think it would be helpful if the general assembly were to get this legislation to my desk that made that clear and made that clear in the statute.
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yes. i didn't hear the first part of your question, tony. go ahead. [ inaudible question ] >> the purpose of the religious freedom restoration act is to give the people of this country the opportunity to go into our courts, state now and federal for more than 20 years, where they believe that government action has imposed and inhinged upon their religious liberty. that's the foundation of this idea. this is about -- this is about restraining government overreach. and i want to say again, the reason why this was such a broad and bipartisan measure over much
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of the last two decades, is because every american cherishes religious liberty. we all understand the importance of the freedom of conscious. it's enshrined in our constitution. it's enshrineded in the constitution of the state of indiana. and that's what this is about. and look, i understand that the perception of this has, you know, has gone far afield from what the law really is. we've been doing our level best to correct that perception. however imperfectly. and we'll continue to do that. i want to say, i am extremely grateful for voices around the country who stepped up and stood by indiana, as we standby this law. but that being said, as governor of the state of indiana, i believe it would be the right thing to do to move legislation to make it clear this law does not give businesses a right to
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deny services to anyone. >> those conversations are ongoing. but i'm -- you know, i remain very hopeful that if we focus on the principle misperception that we will garner support, we will restore confidence, and we'll be able to move forward. >> is that a difference statewide nondiscrimination law that protects sexual orientation. >> well, i think a number of the states are also in the same position that indiana is in and
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the same position that indiana is in. but let me say with great respect, i think that's a separate issue. all right. i'm not advocating for it. i think some people are. that's a separate question that ought to be separate from this idea of religious liberty, and we will give our courts in indiana and have given our courts in indiana, the ability to discern with the highest level of scrutiny where the people of our state believe that government action has intruded upon their religious liberty. right here. she's right here. i'm sorry. say again. [ inaudible question ] why is it contained?
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well, the -- you would have to speak to the indiana general assembly and the members who crafted the the legislation. i'm just pleased to support it, to answer the legislative history question. i believe it would be appropriate to make it clear this law does not give businesses the right to deny services to anyone. >> governor -- >> go ahead. go right ahead. [ inaudible question ] >> i don't support discrimination against gays or lesbians or anyone else. >> so no. >> no. i don't support discrimination against lays or lesbians or anyone else. i abhor discrimination. i want to say this. no one should be harassed or mistreated because of who they are, who they love, or what they
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believe. i believe it with all my heart. this issue of discrimination has been an anthem throughout my life. i was -- i started out in politics as a democrat. when i was in high school. and was the youth democrat party coordinator in my hometown. not exactly a community organizer, but, we worked door-to-door. the reverend martin luther king jr. was my hero. he's one of my heros to this day. john lewis approached me on the floor and asked me if i would cochair or cohost the annual pilgrimage to selma with him. and it was one of the greatest honors i had during my 12 years in congress. we felt so strongly about it that not only did my wife go
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with me, but our three teenage kids went with us. it was the 45th anniversary of bloody sunday. the night before in montgomery, we sat in dr. king's churnl. we talked to people who had been there. and we were deeply moved by the courage and the faith of the people who were there. i will always count it as one of the greatest privileges of my life, on the 45th anniversary of bloody sunday, i was walking across the bridge with john lewis. i think that's probably what's been most greatest to me about the debate the last week. is that i'm very typical in indiana. hoosiers are a loving, kind, generous, decent and tolerant people. we are phone all over the world for that. and i'm just one of them. and so the suggestion that because we passed a law to
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strengthen the foundation of religious liberty in our state courts, that we had in some way created a license to discriminate is deeply offensive to me. deeply offensive to millions of hoosiers. and we're going to correct it and move forward. kevin? >> i'm wondering about businesses -- ncaa, surely they weren't going on twitter. so what can they do? >> the difference in what? >> why would they feel that this bill [inaudible]. so clearly they're not following the reporting on twitter. >> well, i don't want to talk about private conversations but i think we all understand that
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this is a per sepg problem, and we need to deal with it. and we need to deal with it because it's the right thing to do. and we need to deal with it so that everybody around the country and arn the world knows that indiana is a welcoming place to everybody. and i agree. we've got to correct that perception. and the whole debate about how we got here, you know, we are where we are. and the ceo of the state of indiana, i'm determined to bring people together and figure it out, solve it, and move forward. yes. >> last question. >> do you personally believe that -- [inaudible].
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>> this law does not give a license to discriminate. it does not give a license to deny services. [ inaudible question ] >> i don't support discrimination against anyone. the question that you posed, though, i believe, we're dealing here in a free society with always a careful balancing of interest. and the facts and circumstances of each case determine the
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outcome. what this legislation does, what id dit when president clinton signed it into law in 1993, and what it served in the some 30 states where it's been in the law, is provide a frame work for determining whether or not government action puts a sub substantial burden on a person's religious liberty. now, it is counter balanced against whether there is a compelling interest, okay. so first, the first question is, in any case, does the government action place a substantial burden on the free exercise of religion. under this standard, as it's been applied for decades, the next question is, is there a compelling state interest, and what courts have found without exception over the last 20 plus years is that the state has a
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compelling interest in combatting discrimination. and i support that interpretation. >> okay. eric? >> so we're hearing right there from governor mike pence of indiana, taking some questions from reporters. going for about 35 minutes. talking about this problem, the problem he calls a perception problem with the religious freedom bill that has caused so much controversy in the state of indiana and far beyond. a lot to talk about because he said quite a bit. margaret hoover is here with us. you've been chomping at the bit to discuss some of this. the governor says this is a perception problem, and because of a perception problem, he wants to fix it. he's now pushing the legislature to get him a bill that would make it clear this bill does not allow any business the right to deny services to anyone. is that a fix? >> it will be a fix if he passes and supports a comprehensive nondiscrimination law. >> he specifically says that is
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not on his agenda. >> there are different kinds of fixes. what he has proposed is not specific. but businesses have won here because he said he acknowledges he has to do something. it is and the municipality of indianapolis who have all voted and supported the bill on the floor called the fairness for all hoosiers act. that is a bill that will protect lgbt people. i don't think falling short of that, you'll be able to answer the major criticisms of this. and i just want to be clear on one thing. he says he does not support discrimination of lgbt. >> he said that over and over again. >> this is not a law that happened in a vacuum. nor the last two years in indiana, in the legislature, there has been a very concerted effort to pass a law to amend the state constitution to define marriage between a man and a woman exclusively. there are many people in the united states who think that that is discrimination against gay and lesbian americans. he may not view that as
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discrimination, but that does not pass the test, if you ask the ceo of apple or indiana businesses who provide a huge amount of money and support for the state of indiana. >> margaret, on the fix, on the breaking news we have right now and what he is asking the legislature to push forth, do you think that is a step in the right direction, or do you think this is lip service? >> he did not say anything specific that will actually protect lgbt americans from discrimination. >> margaret hoover, thanks so much. i want to go to the senate democratic leader in the state of indiana. tim lannen joining us right now. thank you for being with us. >> thank you for having me. do you have any sense yet what the measure might be to work its way through the assembly right there that might fix this perception problem, as the governor just called it? >> well, i'm not sure. from what i heard from the
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governor, it is not a fix to the issue, which is before us here, which is really now more than this law. it's a perception, not only that this law discriminates, but it's somehow an unfortunate perception that indiana discriminates. and so if the the governor really wants to take bold action, what he outlined here, i did not hear as bold action. if he wants to take bold action, you have to do more. you have to take affirmative action. you can't justin -- just tinker with this legislation. you need to amend the the indiana rights act to include the gays, and include sexual orientation as a protective class in the state of indiana. until you do that you have a vacuum. you have a vacuum in terms of protection for those individuals. and so no, i did not hear anything, unfortunately, which does what i think we need. we need to have -- they call this the religious freedom
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restoration act. we need an indiana reputation restoration act. and that would be exactly what i said, which is to take the bold action of amending our civil rights act to include sexual orientation. now the governor said something which i found encouraging when he said repeatedly that he does not support discrimination against gays. well, if you don't support discrimination against gays, then you should support the the idea of amending our civil rights act in the way that i talked. >> now senator, i want to play just for our viewers who may be joining us a little late. last play what the the governor said hon what he's calling on the the genergeneral assembly t. listen to this. this is the governor a short time ago. >> i'm calling on the the general assembly to send me a bill that focuses on the issue here. that focuses on, frankly, the smear that's been levelled against this law and against the people of indiana. and that is that somehow through our legislative process we
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enacted legislation that created a license to discriminate. that is so offensive to me as a hoosier, and i know it's offensive to people across the state of indiana, that we have to correct that. >> so he says it has to be corrected. he says they want to address the smear that has been levelled against indiana. regardless of how you get there, what the intention is or not, do you think because of the -- in the governor's view, the smear campaign, i guess what he believes is a stand-up law, you clearly disagree with him. do you think you're going to get what you want in the end? >> i think if the governor and everyone involved in this process will logically think about what is it that we need to take to restore the good reputation of our great state, then i think you'll realize you have to do more than just sort of gussy up this bill, which is already out there. you need to move boldly and make
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a bold statement that indiana does not allow discrimination against any person. we certainly don't allow it on the basis of sexual orientation. >> so senator, do you expect the governor to work with you on this point? >> i'm asking him to. i'm asking him -- let's have everybody set aside the politics involved here. you know, we need to restore the trust of people in the leadership of indiana. and that means for us to work together to find solution. now that solution cannot be timid. it can't be wordsmithing or tinkering with the current bill, which by the way, i don't think needs to this be passed. quite frankly we called for the repeal of it. if you're going to show strong leadership on this, and everyone involved in the process, and it should be a bipartisan effort, by the way. we should move to now amend our indiana civil rights act and include sexual orientation >> senator, thank you so much for being with us.
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i want to bring in someone who put out a remarkable front-page editorial that said "fix this now." that was the preamble that was a call fountain state assembly to fix what he calls a perception problem. tim, does this address the concerns that your paper clearly has? >> so far what we've heard are half steps, vague half steps. it's going to take bold action as we said this morning. half steps are not sufficient to put out this fire that's engulfed indiana in the last week. >> tim, you heard the governor say this isn't a problem with the law, it's a problem with perception. he says this perception is being created by smears and he also says it's being created by bad reporting. do you think that's the case or do you think that this law has now created this wave of economic reality where businesses are fleeing in some cases indianapolis?
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>> i think we need to focus on addressing the economic reality, where we are today. there was an opportunity perhaps a month ago to make a case for this law. 2 that cloewindow's closed and th governor doesn't understand that. it's addressing the real issue. the message that's been received by the rest of the country and by many people in this state is that one that indiana will tolerate discrimination. we need to send a clear message that discrimination is against our values, that we will not tolerate that. half steps will not send that message. we have to take a bold step. we have to get outside of our comfort zones. the governor is not comfortable with take a bold step right now. but he's going to need to do that in order to put out this fire. >> tim, stick with us. let's get to mel robbins, cnn legal analyst. mel, you've been watching this and listening to this. there's a lot to discuss and a
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lot to be careful of here because this gets to legislation and a real legal question of really where is the line of discrimination? and you can final a legal analyst on every side of this debate we've found. what do you think of what you heard from the governor today? is he proposing a strong legal fix? >> well, what i heard the governor say is that he had read president clinton's bill from 1993. but what i'm wondering is, has he read his own bill? has he looked at section 9? there is a major distinction in the indiana law and the federal law and every other religious freedom law in the country. indiana under section 9 authorizes private individuals which also includes, by the way, corporations, limited partnerships, to have a defense, to bring a claim. so in other words, if you have a case where somebody is saying, hey, you're a florist and you're
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not willing to provide flowers in a public marketplace for my commitment ceremony, even though gay marriage is legal in indiana, what this law does, unlike any other law in any other state and unlike the federal government is it allows somebody to have a defense to a discrimination claim. and so before he starts to fix it, i suggest that the governor reads it, kate and john. >> ross, i want to bring you in here because before you were saying there was a misunderstanding on the law. that was the point that governor pence just made at length. he said right now there is a perception problem and he wants to fix that. but you write a very interesting column today where you say that society has moved so fast that that's playing into this. you just had the governor say on a podium he doesn't support discrimination of any kind yet he also supported a measure that would have declared marriage to be just between a man and a woman and there are people who will say that's discrimination. so you see this dilemma being
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created in the political discussion. >> well, right, and what i was trying to say in the column is if you had rewound your time machine back five or ten years, and say, we would be having a debate where most republicans and conservatives and frankly at this point most religious conservatives concede that within the next few years, we a lot of same-sex marriage in every state in the union and the only issue remaining was the question of whether a handful of florists, an orthodox jewish deli that doesn't want to cater a same-sex marriage ceremony, whether they would have had legal protections, people would say, that sounds like a big win for social liberals and gay rights activists. now, obviously the american conversation has shifted a lot in the last five or ten years. and now the position of, i think, most political liberals and activists and major corporations and so on is that
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in fact that florist, that deli owner and so on, is in the same legal position as a store counter owner in the sec gaited south and deserves no legal accommodations whatsoever. that's the debate we're having right now. and the question is basically -- and pence's response was essentially evasive. he basically didn't want to say whether or not the law would apply to cases involving that kind of store owner. the answer is, as written, it would imply it would give them a day in court. the legal analysis we just heard is mostly incorrect in the sense that, yes, this law does something different in that it clarifies whether or not private individuals have a claim. but the majority of court rulings on existing rfras said the language of all those other laws usually applies to private individuals and businesses as well. so it's a clarification. but this is pence's right that in most legal interpretation, this law is similar to what's on
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the books in other states. whether it should apply -- and the compromise -- i need to push ahead for one second. the compromise pence is proposing would effectively probably take off the table the claim that a business owner could make, it wouldn't protect a gay or lesbian couple from discrimination more generally in parts of indiana that don't have human rights ordinances because indiana doesn't have a law statewide against discrimination against gays and lesbians. discrimination against them was legal in indiana before the law was passed. >> there's a lot of support changing that. gloria, i want to get your thought on this. the state senator said, let's start compromising. but a lot of politics are going on right now. you heard one admission in the governor's lengthy press conference where he said, i could have handled this all better this weekend.
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how do you think the governor did here? >> i was watching a governor tap dance and deliver what i call kind of -- i was thinking of it as a modified surrender, rather than a surrender. because what he was saying -- and modified surrenders don't really make anybody happy because he kept saying that it was a perception problem, that the law had been mischaracterized, the law had been smeared. nobody intended in the law to discriminate in they way, shape or form and then he says we're going to have a fix. maybe it's to say you can't discriminate against gays and lesbians in the state. but i think this is a governor who has clearly been besieged by businesses, everybody ranging from nascar to statements by the
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ncaa. and this is a governor who's been besieged by businesses in his own state saying, you're killing us with this law. yet politically he did not want to take it back because you see most 2016 candidates in the republican party supporting him. >> that's exactly right. >> and he, by the way, hasn't ruled out running for president in 2016. >> of course. so he's trying to say that, look, the theory of this law is completely appropriate, we're trying to protect people, not discriminate against people. and yet as a governor, he's losing potentially millions and millions of dollars' worth of business but he's saying the law was smeared, not that the law was wrong. >> was flawed. >> he's trying to tap landance e in a very odd and strange way as a governor, as a potential presidential candidate, as a conservative republican and it was painful to watch.
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>> gloria borger, ross, mel, tim, a cast of thousands here helping us watch this very, very interesting event, governor mike pence calling for a fix but not a repeal. >> and i don't think it can be underestimated the pressure that businesses brought to bear on this when they spoke out. that's it for us. thank you so much for joining us. >> "legal view" starts right after a quick break. day, when out of nowhere a pick-up truck slams into your brand new car. one second it wasn't there and the next second... boom! you've had your first accident. now you have to make your first claim. so you talk to your insurance company and... boom! you're blindsided for a second time. they won't give you enough money to replace your brand new car. don't those people know you're already shaken up? liberty mutual's new car replacement will pay for the entire value of your car plus depreciation. call and for drivers with accident forgiveness,
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liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. switch to liberty mutual insurance and you could save up to $423 dollars. call liberty mutual for a free quote today at see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance. hello, everyone. i'm ashleigh banfield. welcome to "legal view." he signed the bill. he's proud of the bill but as you just heard live here on cnn, the embattled governor of indiana says he now wants to fix that bill that the defenders call a religious freedom restoration act. but the critics call a license to discriminate, specifically against gays and lesbians.


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