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Indiana businesses fear backlash over gay rights bill’s failure

LGBT groups said it was too early to know if there would be another backlash, although they were not aware of any boycott efforts.

The group Freedom Indiana said it was disappointed by the setback.

“We’ve said from the outset that doing nothing was not an option,” the group said in a statement. “Today, lawmakers did nothing to help protect LGBT people in our state, but our work is only just beginning.”

Some evangelical Christians welcomed the demise of the legislation, saying it would have whittled away religious freedom. American Family Association of Indiana director Micah Clark said the bill was a “fatally flawed concept.”

The intense debate came as Republican Gov. Mike Pence is struggling to recover from criticism of his leadership. His popularity dipped during the boycott last year, and he faces a tough election rematch in November with the Democrat he narrowly beat four years ago, John Gregg.

In a short statement Tuesday, Pence spokesman Kara Brooks said, “Governor Pence respects the outcome of the legislative process and appreciates the civility with which this issue was debated.”

Gregg accused Pence of failing to provide leadership as the Legislature considered the issue.

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