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Indiana Governor won’t say if he would have signed failed gay rights bill

Indiana Governor won’t say if he would have signed failed gay rights bill
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence isn’t saying whether he would have signed the state Senate’s failed proposal for extending anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Pence declined to say Wednesday what he would do if the bill had made it to his desk.

“I just wouldn’t care to answer a hypothetical question,” the governor said. “I think in my State of the State address what I sought to do is lay out the parameters where I would give careful consideration to any legislation that would reach my desk.”

The governor also said in the address that he would not sign any legislation that hindered religious freedom, which he made priority over LGB rights.

The bill would have extended protections to lesbians, gays and bisexuals, but not transgender people. It also included a long list of religious exemptions for clergy, small businesses and religious organizations.

Pence spoke briefly with reporters after filing his re-election documents with state election officials, a day after GOP senators abandoned efforts to pass the gay rights bill this year.

Democrat John Gregg also officially filed Wednesday to challenge Pence in the November election. Gregg spoke out Tuesday on the inaction on the LGBT discrimination.

“Never has the intolerance of so few hurt the reputation of so many,” Gregg said in a statement. “Until we update Indiana’s civil rights statute our economy and reputation will continue to suffer.”

Indiana faced a backlash last year after it passed a law allowing those who oppose gay rights for religious reasons to withhold services such as providing flowers or cakes for same-sex weddings. The law prompted an uproar that included calls to boycott the state. It was later revised, although the Legislature had wanted to revisit the issue this year.

Local businesses have expressed concern that the failure to pass LGBT protections will hurt the state’s economy.

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