Republican Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Sunday defended the religious freedom bill that he signed last week, saying the growing outrage over the legislation stems from "a tremendous amount of misinformation and misunderstanding."
Critics of the new law say it gives businesses a license to discriminate against gays by citing religious views as a reason to deny them service. They have called for a boycott of the NCAA's Final Four basketball tournament in Indianapolis as a response to the measure.
Asked on ABC's This Week about whether businesses could refuse service to gay people under the new law, Pence repeatedly said the question was beside the point.
"This isn't about disputes between individuals," he said. "It's about government overreach, and I'm proud that Indiana stepped forward, and I'm working hard to clarify this." The governor also said the law protects "individuals when they believe that actions of government impinge on their constitutional First Amendment freedom of religion."
Pence added that the measure would apply only to disputes between individuals when government action is involved. He said similar laws for the federal government and more than a dozen states have never been used to undermine antidiscrimination laws.
The governor said he expects additional legislation this week to clarify the intent of the law.