MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Indiana finds itself under the spotlight this week -- and not just because it's hosting the top teams in college basketball.
Critics say Indiana's new religious freedom restoration law could be used to discriminate. One popular theoretical example -- a florist opposed to gay marriage refusing to sell flowers to a homosexual couple for their wedding.
On Tuesday, Indiana's governor held a news conference to defend his state's reputation.
"This law does not give anyone a license to discriminate. The religious freedom restoration act in Indiana does not give anyone the right to deny services to anyone in this state," said Gov. Mike Pence.
Gov. Pence says similar laws are already on the book elsewhere. But he's also asking state lawmakers to hand him legislation clarifying that the new law does not allow discrimination.
"Indiana has passed a law here that mirrors the federal law that President Clinton signed and it mirrors the laws and statutes of some thirty states," said Pence.
It's true that Congress and President Bill Clinton signed off on a religious freedom restoration law more than 20 years ago. But former Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske says there are significant differences between that law and the one in Indiana.
"The federal law says that the government cannot impede those religious beliefs unless they can show first of all there's a substantial need to do it. And secondly, it's the least restrictive means they can accomplish their goal," said Geske.
But Geska says in Indiana, a government party doesn't have to be involved at all.
"It can be a simple tort between a couple of parties," said Geske. "The...litigant is going to wind up having to show things for example that normally the government would show in a case. So it's going to be expensive; it's going to be challenging."
Wisconsin does not have a similar religious free restoration law on the books, but there have been court cases concerning religious freedom and the state. Justice Geske reviewed one such case while serving on the state's Supreme Court.