More opponents speak out against Indiana law on religious freedom

INDIANAPOLIS (KTVU) -- The backlash against Indiana's controversial new religious freedom law is growing, with pressure coming from both outside the state and within.

Monday, nine CEOs called for the measure to be immediately reformed saying the law should "not be used to justify discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender identity."

The leaders of some of Indiana's largest and most influential companies added their signatures to a letter hand delivered to Govenor Pence and the state's house speaker and senate president.

In the letter, the companies blasted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and said they are "deeply concerned about the impact it is having on our employees and on the reputation of our state."

Eli Lilly, Indiana University Health and San Francisco-based Salesforce are among the companies calling for the law to be changed.

Greg Ballard, the Republican mayor of Indiana's largest city, tried to reassure companies that it is still a good place to do business and a good place to visit.

"Indianapolis will not be defined by this," Ballard said. "Indianapolis welcomes everybody."

Indianapolis is the host of this weekend's NCAA men's basketball Final Four.

Charles Barkley and other NBA superstars have called for the game to be moved and a boycott of the state.

San Francisco State joined the mayors of San Francisco, Seattle and the Governor of Connecticut to ban publicly funded travel to Indiana.

The measure was signed into law last week.

It will allow any individual or corporation to cite its religious beliefs as a defense when sued by a private party, opening the door to businesses refusing to service gays and lesbians.

"Discrimination is wrong and I hope that message is being heard loud and clear at the state house," said Ballard.

The Indianapolis mayor called for the act to be repealed or to add protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in state law.

Governor Mike Pence tried to defend the law over the weekend saying it has been grossly misconstrued.

"There's been shameless rhetoric about my state and about this law and about its intention all over the internet. People are trying to make it about one particular issue," Pence said.