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CNN SPECIAL REPORTS
Special Report: Showdown In Indiana. Aired 9-10:00p ET.
Aired March 30, 2015 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: This is the CNN Special Report, Showdown in Indiana, The Battle Over Religious Rights. I'm Chris Cuomo, in New York.
This was the scene from the protest in Indianapolis, its ongoing war over law and culture. The latest attack according to gay rights advocates, legalize discrimination under the gays of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Now ever since Governor Mike Pence sign at Thursday, protesters have taken to the streets in Indiana, an outrage is bubbling up around the country, a growing number of major businesses lining up to say, so long as Indiana has this law, they're going to do their business elsewhere.
But now, hold on a sec. Indiana is not the first state to do this. There were 19 others that have laws just like this. And they all go out of a federal law, signed by Bill Clinton in 1993. Supporters of what Indiana just did say, the law is not designed to target gays but to protect religious minorities and the fundamental right to exercise your faith.
So the question is, do people just have it wrong? And if so why won't any of the dozen plus Indiana lawmakers involved in this come on to defend the law? But perhaps the biggest question of all is what happens next?
For that let's get to CNN's Miguel Marquez, he's live in Indianapolis. What do we know from there?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well we know that the city council tonight here in Indianapolis pass a resolution opposing SB 101, this law that's now put into effect. The mayor - The Republican mayor of the city here sign an executive order asking the Governor to turn that law around, to fix it, as he said. All of these and says that final four is coming to town, the MCAA expressing its concern about the law as well. It is a full court press against SB 101.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: Protest and anger across Indiana, gays, lesbian and their supporters rallying in opposition to SB 101, the so called Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have two kids that could possibly not be server because somebody doesn't believe in me being married to another woman.
MARQUEZ: Opponents say, the law can could be use by businesses to turn gays and transgender customers away if a business feels their religious freedom is being violated. It came about after Indiana was forced to allow same sex marriage last year. Supporter say, businesses will no longer be force to support same sex marriage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's crazy because we just made gay marriage legal in October and its like one step forward, 1,000 steps back.
MARQUEZ: Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who signed the bill in private dodged over and again on ABC's This Week, whether the bill could prompt discrimination?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, THIS WEEK HOST: Yes or no, if a florist in Indiana refuses to serve a gay couple at their wedding, is that legal now in Indiana?
MIKE PENCE, (R) INDIANA: George, this is where this debate has gone, with misinformation and frankly...
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's just a question, sir. Yes or no.
PENCE: Well there's been shameless rhetoric about my state.
MARQUEZ: Governor Pence said the bill would stand, no changes. Members of his own party today, in the state legislature weren't so sure.
BRIAN BOSMA, INDIANA HOUSE SPEAKER: Clearly, there's unsettled waters right now, right? And that could have far ranging impact. We determined, we needed to step in and be sure that those waters are calmed. And if that requires a legislative clarification, that's what we're working with.
MARQUEZ: 20 states currently have religious freedom laws on the books, some of those states also specifically protect rights based on sexual orientation. Opponents say, the problem with Indiana's law is board, any person or business could seek protection based on religious beliefs, free of government involvement.
Utah has a similar constitutional amendment just introduced in the State House that would take effect in 2017. There are protests in Arkansas where the Governor has a bill similar to Indiana's on his desk. The first Religious Freedom Act became federal law under Democrat Bill Clinton in 1993. It had bipartisan support and aimed to protect individuals religious rights against government intrusion.
In 1997, state started passing their own religious freedom laws after the Supreme Court ruled the federal law didn't apply to that. More recent controversy over gay marriage has pushed some states to adopt increasingly broad religious freedom protections. Indiana's law has put the state in the line of fire. Comedians are taking aim.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll be able to tell which stores are supporting the new law, because they'll have his helpful little signs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: Now Republican Governor Mike Pence has signed or has penned Wall Street Journal article tonight, saying that he will not change his mind that the law doesn't discriminate against gay and lesbians or the transgendered.
[21:05:11] And there is still though great pressure from all sides for him, to make changes to this law. How soon it could happen? They have a super majority in both house of the legislator here. They could do it very quickly, but most think it will take some time for it to make its way back to the legislature and then back to the desk of the Governor, if it happens at all. Chris.
CUOMO: Miguel, they certainly didn't see this coming. Protest are one thing, but to hear that two states, Connecticut and now, Washington state have said, they won't do business with Indiana as long as this law is on the books. Unusual to say the least. Thank you very much to the reporting.
Now, there are two sides to this story. Like I said, we reached out to all of the sponsors and cosponsors of the bill as well as the Governor of Indiana, Governor Mike Pence, who signed it into law.
Now, here's a picture of a bunch of them at the signing. You see of religious groups, people oriented there, there are some lobbyist. They all look pretty pumped and yet they all ignore the invite or simply said no. But we can report some progress. We are fortunate to have Sue Ellspermann within us tonight.
Indiana Lieutenant Governor, thank you very much for picking up the baton and coming here. It's important to answer these questions. Let's start off with the question that the Governor did not want to answer. Lieutenant Governor, if the florist, if the photographer, if the candle stick maker gets approached by gays who want to marry, can they say no and is that now legal in Indiana?
SUE ELLSPERMANN, INDIANA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Well we don't think that's legal in Indiana. And by the way, hello Chris, thanks or having me on.
CUOMO: Absolutely. Good to have you.
ELLSPERMANN: Certainly in Indiana, we don't and we won't discriminate. I think if you saw the Governor at Wall Street piece today, he says he abhors discrimination. And he said personally that if he was in a restaurant where a gay couple was not being served, he would not return to that restaurant.
And I think that really captures how most do you feel about it. We very much do not support discrimination.
CUOMO: Well let me ask you, why would he answer the question yesterday? I'm sure you talk to him about it.
ELLSPERMANN: You know, I think he was trying to stay with what is RIFRA. And, you know, as you've heard and you've replayed, many people just didn't understand what it is and in the 19 states that have it, the federal level of it and the protections that it provides.
But I think we're continuing to try to really clarify.
CUOMO: Lieutenant Governor, why did you make this law? What is the reason behind it?
ELLSPERMANN: Well in Indiana, I think it has a lot to do with the hobby lobby law because of Obama care. And as that unfolded, we realized here in the state of Indiana that we did not have the state protection that paralleled the federal protections for religious freedom.
And we're a state that really values those first amendment right.
CUOMO: But your law is so different than the 93 law and the other 19 states that have them. You allow businesses to basically be -- not just people but people with a religious conscience. And you are allowing them to say that they won't do business with people if it is offensive to their religion and the LGBT community seems to have a target on its back.
I mean isn't it that just the honest truth of what's going on here?
ELLSPERMANN: Well we -- no, I really don't think that's what we believe that law does. And I think that's why as you heard today, the leadership in our general assembly came together and said, "Look, this law is not intended to discriminate. We have great respect for the LGBT community and all those who are Hoosiers, we do not discriminate here.
And if we have not clarified that in a fair way, we want to do that. And I think that is exactly what the general assembly is about, doing right now.
CUOMO: But I'm wondering if we are being open and honest about what motivated this law. You say, "Well it's pushing for religious freedom." The original law was designed to protect religious minorities, Native Americans from smoking peyote, you know, the Amish for having to put an LED light on their carriages.
You are not empowering the majority, businesses big groups, largely Christians. And that is going to be a very different impact. And if we put up the picture again of the lobbyists who are standing behind the governor, we took a picture with these guys. Literally there are people on this picture who have gone out of their way to destroy the reputation of LGBT to use ugly words. And here they are celebrating this law. How can it not be about that, Lieutenant Governor?
ELLSPERMANN: Well, Chris, some of those people in that picture are (inaudible) and I certainly didn't put that...
CUOMO: No, no, no, no, not that picture.
ELLSPERMANN: ... in that piece. So...
CUOMO: Not that picture. There was more than one picture taken. You know what I'm talking about. You know the gentleman that I'm talking about.
ELLSPERMANN: In Indiana...
CUOMO: The names, Michael Clark, Lieutenant Governor Curt Smith...
ELLSPERMANN: Yeah, sure.
CUOMO: ... Eric Miller. You know who this gentlemen are, you know what they represent, ideologically, it's not a coincidence that they're standing behind the, is it?
[21:10:05] ELLSPERMANN: Well I think for most who signed that, onto that bill and those who support it, it really what I said. It was he Hobby Lobby case, it was understanding that we wanted to protect the religious freedom of all Hoosiers, just like 30 other states enjoy.
And, you know, it is not about discrimination. We really welcome everyone in the state of Indiana. Our city, Indianapolis is considered one of the best places for young professionals to work. We have great sporting events. We talked about the final four that will happen here this weekend. We are absolutely a warm and welcoming state.
And that said, we're understanding the misconceptions and what's happening. And the -- Just the fact that this accusations are coming out, we have work to do to make sure people understand what it is and what it isn't. We owe it to Hoosiers and we owe it to Americans, those who do business here in Indiana, those who might want to come live here. We owe it to them to...
CUOMO: Lieutenant Governor...
ELLSPERMANN: ... clarify for them.
CUOMO: ... you are well aware of the situation. You have businesses, you have entire states...
CUOMO: ... you have the NCAA, you have everybody saying, "This law is objectionable to us for different reasons." The fix and I don't know if it is a fix, as a lawyers by the way, but the political fix for the Governor was include LGBT in your protected classes understate law. He said, "No way. It's not on my agenda."
If you're so open, if you are so about the inclusiveness and I'm not talking about Indiana's people, I don't think it's fair to pull them into this. This is about the lawmakers. This is about you guys at the top. If that's what you want to do, why don't you include them under your state law of protection against discrimination?
ELLSPERMANN: Well I think the -- that is why not a decision for the Governor or the administration to make. Along that is why you have a general assembly. And in the press conference...
CUOMO: But he said no, Lieutenant Governor.
ELLSPERMANN: ... earlier today.
CUOMO: He didn't say it's not my job, he said is no.
ELLSPERMANN: Well let me talk about the general assembly. The general assembly said that is something that their leadership is willing to look at longer term. They don't think it can be done in the four weeks that are left in session. But I think these are conversations to be had.
And our Governor and our leadership are working together. And we do want to make sure it is just incredibly important that here in Indiana, we make sure that people are comfortable that this law does not discriminate. And we are looking at the options, what needs to be done to make sure that doesn't happen.
CUOMO: Lieutenant Governor, before I let you go. Would you be willing to make a statement to people of faith in Indiana and else where who are seeing this as rational for striking out against people who they don't agree with in terms of lifestyle? Would you like to make a statement to people who are saying, if I don't want to deal with gays, I don't have to, that's my religion. Do you believe that that's a legitimate exercise of religious faith?
ELLSPERMANN: Well no, we really -- we expect all of our people to be welcoming, we expect our businesses are that way. I'm going to speak to it as a mother. I have my husband, I have four daughters, I have three grandchildren. I certainly don't want those children or grandchildren to be discriminated against. You know, I was a female engineer at that time when not many females were engineers.
I've been up close to discrimination, I don't want that. We don't want that, the governor...
ELLSPERMANN: ... has said he doesn't want that. So I really think this is something, I know the whole country is watching us here in Indiana, but I think you're going to see us figure this out together. It is important and we do want to be a welcoming state to everyone and...
CUOMO: We know...
ELLSPERMANN: ... we appreciate the opportunity to speak to you about it.
CUOMO: Absolutely, Lieutenant Governor. We know that there's a lot of energy there among Republicans, as well as Democrats. We look forward to what comes next. And thank you for stepping up and coming on answer the questions. Extend out invitation again to the Governor. Thank you, Lieutenant Governor.
ELLSPERMANN: All right. You're very welcome. Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: Appreciate it. Now, coming up after the break, by most accounts, this law that we're talking about sailed right through the statehouse. But the debate is heating up and we have the two sides for your, straight ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR GREG BALLARD, (R) INDIANAPOLIS: Calling upon Governor Pence and the Indiana legislature, to fix this law. Either repeal it or pass a law that protects all who live, work and visit Indiana and so, immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: That is the mayor of Indianapolis. A brother Republican to the Governor, wasting no time to condemn this now controversial law. It's his city that has become the epicenter of protest against this religious freedom law. Throughout the evening, we've been watching the protest that heated up across the state as Hoosiers standup to be heard on this controversial law.
From both sides, you have, "Don't let the state tell me how to practice my faith", on one. And on the other you have, "Don't make me a victim of your beliefs", on the other. So who is right? Let's debate. Sarah Warbelow, she's with the Human Rights Campaign, an organization dedicated to equal rights for the LGBT community. And Mr. Travis Weber, with Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group.
Thank you to both of you for being with us. Let's begins this. Travis, you know what the pushback against the law is that this law is basically setup to allow businesses to say we don't want to do business with gay people, especially when they're getting married or anything that we don't like and that's our faith, is that fair?
TRAVIS WEBER, CENTER FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY DIRECTOR, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: It's not fair. The law merely allows people to bring a religious claim in core proceedings, sometimes that arises in the context of religious please and sexuality, it's certainly arises in that context. But there also arises a number of other context, dealing with a number of religions across the board.
So it's not fair to claim it's merely about discrimination and sexuality.
SARAH WARBELOW, LEGAL DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN: Look, we support religious liberties. It's why we have the first amendment. But this law was intended to allow for discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. There's no doubt about it.
The state legislature have the opportunity to adapt an amendment, explicitly saying that the law couldn't be used to undermine civil rights law and they chose not to pass it.
CUOMO: Travis, there is some stink on this law about -- that it was a makeup for what happen without amendment to block gay marriage and there is that picture of the Governor with these men standing behind him who are known for being out spoken haters of the LGBT community, not just politics. Is that what this was? Was this a make good for that constituency?
WEBER: I don't think so at all. I think I'd be very difficult to call these people who have genuinely religious objections to being force to be complicit in sexual practices, in sexual ceremonies against their religious to be haters. You ask (inaudible) made out in Washington state who didn't want to be force, to be part of the same sex marriage ceremony with her small business and she didn't hate her customers at all, she happily serve gay people for years.
And she says to the person who sued her, I would hug him if he came in my door. I just don't want to be force to play a part in his ceremony. That doesn't sound like a hater to me and this is not fair to paint people who have genuine objections as to fill the hate.
CUOMO: The question is what you male them do. So Sarah, what do you say to those who say, "Listen, this is just about my religion, I don't believe in you marrying your partner. I don't want to be a part of it."
WARBELOW: Well they don't have to attend wedding of same sex couples of participate at the wedding itself. But when you are a business and you open yourself up to the public, you are expected to server everyone on equal terms. It's why we have a long history in this country or prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, on the basis of religion, on the basis of sex in public accommodations.
All business owners should be treating their patrons equally and fairly.
CUOMO: Now, Sarah, you're going to hear people flip this analogy on you and say, "Well wait a minute, if this were a Jewish baker and some KKK couple came in and said, "We want you make a cake." If he said no, well than how would you feel about the situation?
WARBELOW: Well most of these business owners really are providing cakes to their customers across the board, but there are a select few who are choosing to discriminate. And there's a huge difference between having to write something objectionable on a cake and being asked to provide a cake for a same sex couple.
[21:20:10] And it's not just limited to that context. This bill has the potential undermine the many cities in Indiana who have adapted nondiscrimination protections including Indianapolis in the employment context and in a housing context as well. CUOMO: Travis, this law does go farther than any other one in the books right now, namely by allowing corporations to not just be people under the law, which is done from time to time, but to be people of religious conscience and exercising faith as a business. And that has people upset. Do you believe that it's over reaching? And if that's another signal as to what this is really about.
WEBER: Well not at all. I mean corporations exercise social goods and act with a social good all the time with a number of context and sets to target them because it's religious -- religion that they're acting to further and enact their religious beliefs and how they run their corporation, that's not fair at all, when corporations are free to act for a number of social goods.
So, you know, and as we've seen in the Hobby Lobby case, you know, corporations are animated by the people behind them and religions drives how we interact in the society where we have differences of belief, but those differences should not be held against us merely because they're trying to make a living.
CUOMO: Travis, here's what I don't get. How does working with a gay marriage affect your ability to be a Christian? Why can't you be the Christian you want to be just with your own actions? Why does it require some form of judgment against somebody else?
WEBER: Well I don't think it judgment at all. And I think it comes down to this specific person and they religious objections they have. Not every one is going to have the same objection that that (inaudible) had. But we're not the people to be judging her religious objection, that's between her and god.
In our country where we have differences of opinion, we've long had a way to work those out and we have side by side in a pluralistic manner. And so really, I think the question, you know, the question should we be asking ourselves is not, what should you be doing to bring your religion into line with proper Christianity, that's between the person and god.
We need to conduct ourselves with equality and fairness as we live side by side and this merely allows religious claims to be asserted in that context.
CUOMO: Sarah, does work for you as an understanding of how somebody exercises their faith?
WARBELOW: We were struggling in this country with discrimination it's something that's plagued our country for generations. It's why we have adapted nondiscrimination laws. And let's be clear, this bill not only has a potential for negative ramification for LGBT people, but also people of faith. This would allow a business owner, a retailer to refuse to sell a wedding dress, potentially, to someone who has a different faith than they are.
CUOMO: It does not have to just be LGBT, it could be a Muslim, it could be whatever you decide to say that your faith doesn't allow. And that's going to create a gray area and a lot of litigation. I want to thanks both of you for coming on and making the points from your side and doing it in a civil manner. This debate will benefit from that greatly.
And hopefully you guys are an example for others. Thank you for being on with us.
WARBELOW: Thank you so much.
WEBER: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. Now, as you know from new day on CNN, we take these topics to fuel your understanding, that's why we're doing this. So what are the questions and opinions that were provoked by that debate and what you've seen so far? Bring then on, you can tweet me @chriscuomo and you can use the #indianalaw, and we will use those throughout the show.
Now, coming up on Showdown at Indiana, the politics of religious rights. Who is for this bill and who is against it? You're going to be surprise by the list. Plus, did Barack Obama and Bill Clinton once support similar measures? That's what supporters of the bill say, we'll tell you what they have to say about that, straight ahead.
CUOMO: All right, this is a Special Report, Showdown in Indiana protesters were in the streets, the media is filled with outrage, but who's going to win in this showdown? The free exercise of religion without state interference or those claiming to be targeted by bigotry.
Now let's take one step back. 20 states have religious freedom laws on the book, since 1997. And that's when the Supreme Court left this matter up to states. Most have gone by with little reaction, so why now? Why this one? One could argue the Indiana law goes farther than others in giving business as the ability to act as religious people.
Yet others says, times are simply changing with respect to gay rights. Look at the numbers on your screen. The latest poll suggest that at least the idea of gay marriage is gaining acceptance. So what is a politician who wants to be president to do? One think is for sure, they can not avoid these issues any longer.
Let's bring in Jeff Zeleny, from Washington with that. Jeff, thanks for being with us.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Chris, thank you. Now Republican presidential candidates are jumping or being pushed into this debate. But it's the fight over same sex marriage becomes more of a non-issue at lease politically, Republicans are turning their attention to a battle they believe they can win. That's a battle over religious liberty they say, not discrimination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: Religious freedom laws spilling over into the 2016 presidential race. Some Republicans trying to walk a fine line between satisfying social conservatives without limiting their broader appeal to younger and more moderate voters.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: So no one here is saying that it should be legal to deny someone's service at a restaurant or the hotel because of a sexual orientation? The flip side of it is though, should a photographer be punished for refusing to do a wedding that their faith teaches them is not one that is valid in the eyes of god.
ZELENY: For his part, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, late today offered a stanch defense of Indiana's approach.
JEB BUSH: I think Governor Pence has done the right thing. Florida has a low like this. Bill Clinton singed a low like this at the federal level. This is simply allowing people of faith space to be able to express their beliefs, to be able to be people of conscience. I think once the facts are established, people aren't going to see this as discriminatory at all.
ZELENY: All potential GOP candidates say they're taking the stand for religious liberty.
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm pretty much a believer that the scripture teaches that you hate to sin and love to sin. But at the same time, I don't think the law should be forcing Americans to violate their religious faith.
ZELENY: But it's not yet clear that candidates are eager to make it an issue. None of them talked about it today. Democrats like Hillary Clinton are happy to push Republicans. She's already weighing in, saying on Twitter, "Sad this network Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn't discriminate against people because of who they love."
The politics of gay marriage are quickly changing but still tricky inside the GOP. Senator Rand Paul told the (inaudible) last week that a moral crisis was at hand. His private remarks were recorded by the Christian broadcasting network.
SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) KENTUCKY: The moral crisis we have in our country, there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage.
ZELENY: But on a college campus last year, Paul told CNN's Peter Hamby that Republicans must be less rigid.
PAUL: People change their minds all the time on this issue and even within the Republican party, there are people who's child turns out to be gay an they're like, maybe I want to rethink this issue.
ZELENY: It's a contradiction challenging the Republican Party. At least one prominent Republican governor, Pat McCrory of North Carolina is breaking ranks. He said today, he won't sign such a law in his state.
PAT MCCRORY: What is the problem they're trying to solve and I haven't seen it up to this point and time.
ZELENY: Now not all presidential candidates seem quite sure where they stand. Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush offered a full throttle defense today, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was bit more noncommittal when asked if his state should pass a similar law. Now the Iowa conservative activist, we talked to today said, anyone who hopes to be come the party's presidential nominee should support religious freedom laws.
[21:30:00] But the question here, Chris, is this, whether all of this makes swing the general election even more difficult.
CUOMO: And also we have to understand Jeff how is this is really a function of religious freedom even though that is the title of the law let's discuss that now thank you for reporting.
Let's bring in some people to discuss the political implications here we have Sarah Elizabeth Cupp, S.E. Cupp and Mr. Van Jones, two of our best here. Thanks to both of you good to see you both. S.E., let me start with you because your side is driving this situation here. Here's the part that I want you to help me with put the law side for a second, how is it in the furtherance of somebody's religious exercise let's say it's a Christian to deny service to a gay person, how is that make you a Christian?
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm not going to speak on behalf of Christian. I'm an atheist and I'm not going to be speak on behalf of a Republicans I'm a republican who supports gay marriage like a lot of other Republicans. But I think there's been some misinformation this law. It doesn't allow you to discriminate against someone it allows you to bring up religion as a defense in a court of law which is not obligated to uphold that defense.
CUPP: So I have issues with this law trust me, but that's more because I don't think that anti-discrimination law are generally very effective at ending discrimination, but to be honest I think that the out range, the out range over this law seems incredibly uneven. We just showed a picture of Hillary Clinton's tweet about this, she's sad that Indiana can allow a law like this, yet she's happy to take money to the Clinton global initiative from Saudi Arabia, which literally beheads people for being homosexual.
You know Tim Cook of Apple is upset with Indiana but I'm sure Apple still does business in Russia, where discriminating against gays is it just a possibility, it's (inaudible) into law. So I appreciate all of this and amidst toward the discrimination but lets apply it evenly.
CUOMO: All right, but that's not even because your distracting from this one by pointing another situation we'll take those on another day.
CUPP: I'm not distracting ...
CUOMO: Of course you are. CUPP: ...I hope Chris that you do an hour long especial on all of that kind of discrimination as well.
CUOMO: Because first of all it depends what it means in terms of your culture dynamic. There have been 19 other laws like this, not are as expansive as this one, none seem as bold as this one does in terms of its intentionality. You saw the men standing behind the governor in that picture. You don't know what their backgrounds are when it comes to LGBT. They just seen to now be dealing with the fallout of the law they thought it was to going slip pass.
My question to you, Van Jones, is that there is a movement in this country to make being religious seemingly a bad thing such that lawmakers are being pushed to protect people of faith from state action like what we saw with Obamacare were Hobby Lobby was force into providing care paying for health insurance that would allow contraceptives and other things that they were against. Do people of faith need to be protected from the government?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well I just want to say as a Christian and someone who is raising my kids in the church, I'm very aware that there's an anti-religious backlash, it seems to be coming from secular America and I'm very concern about it.
At the same time this law to me is not really about that. This seems to me to be a very, very obvious attempt to let people hide their bigotry behind the bible and get the law on their side in doing that. There's nothing in the bible that says your going to hell if you gave a gay person a cake, its not in the bible. There's nothing in the bible that says you make some flowers for lesbian couple your going to hell.
At some point we have to accept that people often use religious rational to excuse bigotry it happen under segregation. I grow up in the south. I was born in 68 my parents were born in the segregation. I heard even as child God separated the races. He put the races on different continents. It's God's will. And if you are opposing what I'm saying that segregation is right, you're opposing my religion.
So we have a country but we have to balance through religious freedom the freedom to practice your faith versus some of these excuses intent matters. The intent here is clear the intent is to give another weapon to people who do not want to support the rights of gays and lesbians and that is very, very wrong. And as a Christian I think (inaudible) to it.
CUOMO: Do you (inaudible) S.E., that this was a give back to Indiana Republicans who want to be gay marriage amendment there and they lost and if this law was some of the consolation for them do you buy that?
CUPP: Yeah, I think politically and probably was an effort at, you know, grasping at some kinds of victory here and I what I think is ashamed is that politically and probably wasn't a very smart idea. I was with Governor Pence two years ago, he sort of give me a tour of Indianapolis and showed me all of the business that he had help bring in while governor. And what's the ashamed is that I think a lot of his businesses now are kind of grand standing on this opportunity.
[21:35:01] And with (inaudible) we're saying their not going to expand rightly or wrongly. And that really does hurt Governor Pence if he had any national aspirations and it hurts in Indiana politics, it hurts Indiana's economy. And so again whether you think pulling out is right or wrong the fact that they're doing it I think it's a huge bruise to both Governor Pence and the state of Indiana.
CUOMO: What do you think about his play of saying we're not going to make LGBT a protected class under state law I'm not going to do that? By that way, I don't know if legal -- hold on a second, Van. I don't know if legally that will be a fix because this will give a little confusing. But if you did that you create LGBT as a protected class like race and (inaudible) and others we have, gender. But that just initiates state action that would trigger this law, the state action would now be, you must respect the rights of LGBT and now you'd be able to initiate the law.
So I don't know if it's fix. But politically, Van, when he said that I'm not going to do that what signal that send to you?
JONES: Well A, I thought that was bad. The other thing, the other signal that I think people are paying attention to is a fact that the legislature did have the explicit opportunity to amend this bill to make sure that it was not about discrimination and they refuse to do it. We have those kinds of signals all put together in does bolster the case, so this is not about religious living.
I don't call it religious liberty bill, I call it a license to discriminate bill. Now S.E. is right in terms of the way that it gets play out it's a permanent defense in court but a business owner can use this in entirely, because listen, we're just not going to do this, I have a problem with this idea that corporations are people, corporations don't go to church, corporations don't pray. At a certain point as an entrepreneur and I am one when you get a get those protection of being a corporate entity you will getting a lot of benefit from society for yourself to have that corporate show.
JONES: And you need to ...
CUOMO: But you got to be careful there, Van. Got to be careful, that's roman times up through reckoning of the 14th amendment. Corporations have been seen as people in the eyes of the law, them having religious prerogatives is something new and expensive in this law.
CUPP: New, yeah.
CUOMO: And that was an issue. But S.E. Cupp, thank you very much for laying it down within a concepts of your own personal believes and you...
CUPP: Sure CUOMO: ....as well Van Jones. Always a pleasure thanks to both of you. So you heard what S.E. and Van have to say, what about you? That's why we're doing this. So tweet me @chriscuomo use the hashtag Indiana law. Tell me if you think it make sense and what are the other questions that remain and we'll take them all here in the special and beyond.
And coming up on the show, Indiana is certainly hurting, there's no question about that, is taking a beating to the wallet as businesses, celebrities and even others states are backing away from the Hoosiers . Now, they're going to take their money with them which is a problem for the states economy, but this is about more this is about politics, is not about the good people of Indiana, its what about their leaders put them your going to hear the powerful tweet of a governor of Connecticut what he has to say to the governor of Indiana. We're going to tell you that here.
CUOMO: A lot of confusion in this situation in Indiana but one of the few things that Indiana Governor Mike Pence will say definitively about the law is, it's here to say, it won't be amended. He doesn't want a second law, requesting as a fix defining sexuality as a protected class in Indiana. He says, "That's not coming either. I don't even know if that would fix the situation but it's not coming."
Pence in under the kind of pressure that can make even the most entrenched change course and that is financial pressure. Businesses are speaking up, big ones and as we all know, money talks, here is CNN's money -- CCN money's Cristina Alesci. She has a part of the story for us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The backlash couldn't have been more high profile.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning.
ALESCI: Apple CEO Tim Cook visibly came out as gay, sharply criticized Indiana's new religious freedom law. The critic says, "Its anti-LGBT." He wrote in the Washington post that such laws are "very dangerous" and "will hurt jobs and growth".
Indiana's economy is already feeling the impact. Local success story Angie's list announced its putting at expansion plans in the state on hold.
BILL OESTERLE, ANGIE'S LIST CEO: We're unwilling to engage in an economic development agreement that's contingent on us hiring people in when the state is sending a message out the potential employees that is not always palatable.
ALESCI: And a drug company Eli Lilly which employs about 12,000 people locally said the law is bad for Indiana and for business.
Paypal Co-founder Max Levchin wade-in.
MAX LECHIN, PAYPAL CO-FOUNDER: The first thing I'm doing is asking my fellow CEOs to look at how they're thinking about the relationship with the state.
ALESCI: And tourism can be hurt too. The NCAA which is hosting the Final Four in Indiana's capital is examining the law's impact on future events.
(inaudible), one of the biggest video gaming conventions in the country is threatening to pull its events from the state. The broader concern for businesses, Indiana's new law could make it harder to attract employees and customers from a key demographic.
Millennials who are overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage.
TIM MALEENY, CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER, HAVAS WORLDWIDE: Millennials are really the crest of a wave that is shaping everyone's behavior regardless of the generation which is the people are shopping increasingly with their hearts not just their wallets and if a company reflect your shared values, you'll give them your dollars. You'll give them your support or even become an evangelist for that company.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Hearts, wallets, politicians as well, we heard that the state of Washington is boycotting business with Indiana, Connecticut as well. The Governor they are putting out at tweet, what did he say, Governor Malloy.
ALESCI: He said that Indiana is turning back the clock on progress. And just to bring it back to Millennials, for a second Chris, I got a number for you.
Well, there is the Governor Malloy's tweet there, you know, turning back the clock on progress but just to bring it back to business for a second, I got a number for you, $170 billion, that's how much Millennials spend a year and yes, it's a little bit less than baby bloomers but these are the young people that companies want for life, Chris.
These people do not respond to traditional advertising...
CUOMO: But what does that mean? Does that mean that these businesses are just thinking about their pocket and that this Millennials, they like the gay marriage thing. So we're going to say we like it or do you think that this is conscientious especially when you have like Cook coming out for a Apple?
ALESCI: I am not saying that the businesses are being insincere and they are rallying Indiana's this new legislation.
[21:45:02] What I am saying is that, this is an opportunity for them to tell Millennials, they are with them and the Millennials do not respond to traditional advertising so when then you can align yourself with the calls like this, it is good for business and it is a very clear marker that distinguishes Apple from other companies out there and there are tons of other companies too that came out, you know, with the (inaudible).
And let's put a -- let's not put to find a point on it. You know, the Governor of Indiana is defending himself in a Wall Street Journal about tonight, right? Like you said, there is no indication that he is going to change course. Let's put this into perspective, the business community in Arizona did change the outcome...
CUOMO: They didn't do it.
ALESCI: Exactly, last year when they try to propose when, of course, they try to propose a bill that was similar.
CUOMO: I appreciate the perspective, Cristina Alesci. Pleasure to have you with me.
CUOMO: We're going to take a break. When we come back, we're going to take on what really is the mood to this situation. The law itself, what does it do, what does it not do and why do pretty say this law is doing something that's worst than any other of its kind? We'll break it down for you ahead.
[21:50:10] CUOMO: All right. Welcome back to our special report show down in Indiana. Let's get after what matters most to the law itself. We have legal experts for you.
Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal analyst and also George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley, it's good to have both of you here with us.
So, let's just take a look at this law. Jeffrey, what does it do? What does it not do and why?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well the core of the law is it says to individuals and to businesses, if you feel that you have a religious obligation to act in a certain way ,to do business with one person or not to do business with another, you have the right to do that.
And obviously what is this law is mostly about, it's about wedding photographers, it's about wedding cake makers who don't want a deal with gay couples. And it protects them from being sued.
CUOMO: All right. So there may have been some obvious politics that were driving this but now, wherein a legal situation, I would argue as anything but obvious. So let's game it out a little bit, right Jonathan? We're going to start. I am the business owner, OK?
You come to me and you say, hi, I'm marrying my partner, another man and we've like you to do X service for us. We want you to do the flowers. I say, nope. I'm a Christian and being gay is wrong somebody told me. I'm not supporting what you do. How does the law help me?
JONATHAN TURLEY, LAW PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Well what they would have is an affirmative defense that they could go in court to defend their rights to refuse that service. It doesn't mean that they would prevail. There is a question of what does the substantial burden on that.
Although, there is a curious section in the law, section five that says that this belief doesn't have to be a central part of...
TURLEY:.. the religious beliefs, which I think is a big curious. There's no question that the law goes beyond what the federal law says.
CUOMO: And any other state law.
TURLEY: That's right but I think in fairness to the people on the other side of this debate, you know, this is a debate has been long ignored and has been long incoming that there it needs to be some dialog as to where these lines are being drawn. You know, there are people of faith out there that have strong objections to playing a role for example in a gay marriage. And we've been very unclear on this lecture as to where the freedom of religion begins or ends in relationship discrimination.
It got two equally important values.
TURLEY: Our fight against bigotry...
CUOMO: Go ahead...
TURLEY:... and our support of the exercise.
CUOMO: Go ahead, Jeffrey.
TOOBIN: think Jonathan's right that we should be explicit about this but we should be explicit that this is I think precisely parallel to the people in the '50s and '60s who thought there was a religious obligation to keep the races separate.
And they really believe that and they said, they didn't want to play any part in allowing the races to get -- to be together, to be racial intermarriage, that have people swimming in the same swimming pools and we made a decision as a society that, you know, what, we're not going to indulge that. We are not going to allow that in our society even if you actually believe it.
And the question now is, are we going to do the same thing for homosexuality and same sex couple. CUOMO: Jonathan, the question that becomes to you is, was this the right way to advance the ball and what you are saying should be a discussion. It was creating what is ultimately a clumsy piece of legislation. It's so broad in terms of giving corporations the right to act religiously and it saying that you could do it on a basis as you pointed out in section five, doesn't even have to be the central or core part of your faith.
Is this the right way to do?
TURLEY: No. I think it is a clumsy law. And I think it is unfortunate. I think that the debate that you're talking about however is being fuel. I think Jeff's point is correct. There isn't an analogy to what occurred before but in Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court did say that corporations did have a religious right. They could exercise those religious rights.
CUOMO: But that was a different situation by analogy, Jeffrey, because what happened in Hobby Lobby and (inaudible) with legally see here, at home but it's important for this discussion. They said essentially, you can't make this company pay for things that they believe violate their religion which was the contraception. Here, you would be getting paid. You'll be providing the surface. You don't have to pay anything.
TOOBIN: Well (inaudible) it was about the government.
TOOBIN: I mean the Hobby Lobby case, it involves the federal law and the federal law only applies to the government. The government can't force you to interfere with your religious beliefs. But I'd like to take disagree with both of you about how clumsy this law is. I don't think the law is clumsy. I think it's clear. The problem is the people who the sponsors are that the governor, the lieutenant governor, they don't want to acknowledge what they did.
What they did was they gave a license to people not to participate with gay people...
TURLEY: I don't think. I think part of the problem, Jeff that I'm having is I still don't know where the line is drawn on the other side in terms of this clarity.
[21:55:00] You know, we've had cases where people have or bakeries have refused to do cakes that had anti-same sex marriages and we have Christians that say they don't want images that are pro-same sex marriage. Where do we draw the line on free exercise and free speech?
I don't think it's as easy as people suggest. I think there are serious issues here and I, frankly, I'm not sure where this goes, right?
For over decade, I've been writing about this collision occurring between free exercise and the answer discrimination laws and I don't have a clear answer but I do think that we're fooling ourselves and we say that there is a clear line that can be drawn here between those two cakes. Which is legal and which is not.
CUOMO: Right. Well, look, there's no question that there is no clear line and is also unfortunately and I say unfortunately because, Jonathan, you probably didn't want to be write about it but you were and you've been writing about this a long time.
Jonathan Turley, it's an important discussion I have. Thank you for that. Jeffrey, as always. Now, we're talking not just about law but the intersection of law and faith. When we come back, I'm going to give you the bottom line on which way I think this goes inline.
CUOMO: What this law does and could do is all about perspective. Is it designed to discriminate against gays not overtly but our society must also be concerned with the subtle, the implicit, the potential for singling out and wrongly excluding people.
The irony is that this was done in the name of religion and in the end, isn't belief in God about inclusion not exclusion and about loving your fellow man?
[22:00:08] I asked those questions because the answers that people provide to those questions will determine the outcome of the showdown...