Indiana Pastors Alliance applauds Gov. Pence's stance on LGBT debate

Freedom Indiana says position lacks 'leadership'

Gov. Mike Pence's State of the State address drew mixed reactions Tuesday night, but there's one group who's happy with what they heard – the Indiana Pastors Alliance.

The group, which bills itself as a network of clergy, churches and Christian organizations seeking "to advance and defend the cause of faith, family and freedom," said Pence came down on the right side of the debate over expanding civil rights protections to LGBT Hoosiers.

"When he makes a statement that he will not support any legislation that diminishes our already constitutional rights, and our Constitution here in Indiana is very strong in protecting religious liberty, then that says to me that there's a Governor that's providing some strong leadership on this issue and the current bills put forth both represent a diminishing of religious liberties," said Dr. Ron Johnson, president of the Indiana Pastors Alliance.

Johnson delivered 5,000 signed petitions Wednesday to Republican Senate President David Long's office urging him to oppose a pair of proposals, including one he's publicly supporting, that attempt to balance religious liberty and civil rights protections for the LGBT community.

On the other side of the issue, Freedom Indiana says the governor showed a lack of leadership.

"Indiana has a black eye due to RFRA," said Freedom Indiana campaign manager Chris Paulsen. "And we were hoping [Pence] would lead, and not lead us into another super RFRA. Indiana needs full protections for gay and transgender Hoosiers."

Long said recently lawmakers will hold hearings on both proposals at the end of the month.

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