US state changes law discriminating against gays

” Apple CEO Tim Cook came out against the law in an op-ed piece, calling it very dangerous.”
Washington, April 3 (IANS):  The Indiana state’s House of Representatives has announced that it will amend the state’s controversial law on religious freedom, which has engendered much criticism for allowing discrimination against homosexuals.

The head of the lower house, Republican Brian Bosma, said on Thursday he wanted to make it very clear that the law permitted no leeway to allow discrimination, Efe news agency reported.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence, also a Republican, last week signed the law giving free rein to the state’s businesses to prohibit entry or deny service to homosexual couples in the name of religious freedom.

The legislation sparked a huge controversy and unleashed criticism not only from gay rights defence groups but also from businessmen, Republican and Democratic politicians and even the White House.

Bosma refuted those criticisms on Thursday and, although he did not specify what changes would be made to the law, said that the text would reflect the fact that Indiana valued everyone, including gays, heterosexuals, blacks, whites, religious believers and non-believers.

The message should be clear that Indiana was open for business, welcomed everyone and did not discriminate against anyone, the lawmaker insisted.

On Wednesday, Pence asked the state legislature to evaluate the changes that should be made to the law.

He said that the legislature was unfairly criticised and mistakenly represented by the media, and that no discrimination of gays or lesbians would be condoned.

The possibility that the law would allow businesses and business owners to deny services to homosexual customers and consumers had put businessmen in the state against it out of fear that they could lose investment and sales.

The White House said on Thursday that the controversial law was discriminatory and went against the interests of businessmen.

Apple CEO Tim Cook came out against the law in an op-ed piece, calling it very dangerous.

And the Arkansas state legislature passed a law very similar to Indiana’s earlier this week, but Governor Asa Hutchinson refused to sign it. He asked state lawmakers to modify the text to guarantee that it would not allow denial of service to homosexuals.