Late-night talk show host David Letterman on Tuesday mocked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for passing a religious freedom law that critics say could allow discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
"This is not the Indiana I remember as a kid," Letterman, who lived in the state for 27 years, said. "Folks were folks, and that's all there was to it. We had things to worry about. We all breathed the same air; we were all carbon-based life forms. We didn't care."
Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act prohibits governments from infringing on a person's religious beliefs without a compelling interest. Critics say businesses will be able to use this law to bypass civil rights protections for LGBT people in some cities, although legal experts doubt it will actually have this effect, based on decades of legal precedent from court battles involving similar religious freedom laws.
But the law and the perception of it have spawned a massive backlash, leading businesses and celebrities like George Takei, Apple, and Yelp to criticize Indiana, with some even threatening boycotts of the state. Letterman is among the latest to take part in the criticism.
Looking back, Letterman said, "Remember when [former Indiana Hoosiers coach] Bobby Knight would throw stuff on the court? That's exactly what you want. That was big news in Indiana. Now, we have this."