Indiana Governor Mike Pence has been forced to overhaul the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act which sparked outcry with claims that it discriminated against the LBGT community.
Now for the first time in Indiana’s history, it has enacted protections based on sexual orientation.
The revised legislation — which will take effect July 1 — prohibits providers from using the law as a legal defence for refusing to provide services, goods, facilities or accommodations.
It also bars discrimination based on factors that include race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or United States military service.
Pence asked lawmakers to clarify language in the law earlier this week as businesses and sports associations cancelled conventions and governments banned travel to the state.
“In the midst of this furious debate, I have prayed earnestly for wisdom and compassion, and I have felt the prayers of people across this state and across this nation,” Pence said.
“For that I will be forever grateful.
“There will be some who think this legislation goes too far and some who think it does not go far enough, but as governor I must always put the interest of our state first and ask myself every day, ‘What is best for Indiana?’” he said.
“I believe resolving this controversy and making clear that every person feels welcome and respected in our state is best for Indiana.”