On Thursday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which states that businesses in Indiana may legally choose to provide service or not to individuals based on religious beliefs. Although Pence denies this, this bill is extremely problematic because it indirectly gives people the legal right to discriminate against the LGBT community. With this bill, members of the LGBT community in Indiana lose some of their constitutional rights, potentially resulting in their unemployment.
I find it unbelievable that in 2015, actions are still being taken to openly discriminate against the LGBT community. Luckily, however, large organizations have already taken stances against the bill, publicly protesting Pence and his legislation. NCAA’s March Madness is currently in full swing, and their upcoming Final Four games are set to occur in Indianapolis next weekend. After hearing of Pence’s new bill, the NCAA spoke up about its concerns that this legislation will affect its students, athletes and audiences, and now ensures to avoid any feelings of discrimination at the Final Four in Indianapolis.
Additionally, other forces are threatening to take their business elsewhere. Gen Con, a gaming convention in Indianapolis that boosts the city’s economy, might move the location of their convention, scheduled for the summer. The motivation for this is the want for all attendees, regardless of their sexualities, to feel welcome and non-discriminated against. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) may also cancel their 2017 General Assembly in Indianapolis, they explained in an open letter addressed to Pence. Salesforce, a huge tech company, has already taken official action to protest Indiana’s discrimination, and stopped all its programs that required employees to go to Indiana.
On the bright side of all this, it is nice to see large companies reacting so strongly to this discriminatory legislation. Had this legislation been passed years ago, the public may not have reacted so strongly to Pence’s bill. That being said, this strong disapproval of the “Religious Freedom” bill shows just how far the fight for LGBT equality has come. Society is becoming progressively more accepting, appreciating others for their differences. Even though such tolerance is long overdue, it is better late than never. Three cheers for faith in humanity restoration!
With all these immediate uproars in response to the “Religious Freedom” bill, hopefully Pence will rethink his legislation. After all, this bad press cannot be good for the state of Indiana as a whole. It brings a bad reputation to the state, suggesting that it supports segregation and frowns upon the LGBT community. It suggests that Indiana is living in the past and not looking toward a brighter future of equality. Moreover, this kind of legislation is detrimental to Pence, himself, because it raises questions regarding his character, credibility, logic and motives.
So come on, Pence. If you will not revoke the bill in the name of morals or the equality of your state’s inhabitants, at least do it for yourself to clear your name. Even if this bill does not explicitly reject the LGBT community, the fact is, it does. No bill should be acceptable if it sparks discrimination, so whatever your reasoning, get this bill revoked.