LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- During a news conference on Tuesday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence reiterated that he is calling for legislative clarification of the recently signed Religious Freedom Restoration Act to indicate that the act does not grant businesses the right to deny services to anyone.
The controversial act, which Pence said was created to protect religious liberty, has drawn fire from critics who say it permits businesses the right to discriminate against gays and lesbians.
"Let me say first and foremost, I was proud to sign the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week," Pence said. "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."
Pence went on to deny the allegations that the act was created so businesses could deny services to gays and lesbians.
"The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was about religious liberty -- not discrimination," he said.
Pence says the public reaction to the law was caused by gross mischaracterization by people who opposed the bill, and by and "sloppy reporting" by the media.
Pence said reporting on the new law has been "ridiculous."
"I just think we need to make it very clear...that this law does not give...the right to deny services to anyone," Pence said, calling the very notion that it did, "so offensive to me as a Hoosier."
Pence added that when U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the law into effect in 1993, the ACLU argued that it was the most important legislation passed by Congress since the First Amendment.
Pence pledged to act quickly on the law. "I believe we need to deal with it this week," he said. "And we will. We will move forward."