Friday, March 27, 2015

Indiana Gov. Pence Signs Law Permitting Gay Discrimination

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Governor Pence, R-Indiana, has signed RFRA, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill into law that allows so-called "religious" business owners to discriminate against gay people in the name of Free-Dumb. This is causing an uproar, with widespread calls on Twitter to #BoycottIndiana. And how can this be legal anyway? Let the lawsuits begin!

From the Indy Star
"This bill is not about discrimination," Pence said, "and if I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it."
Senate Bill 101 prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person's ability to exercise their religion — unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it. It takes effect July 1.
Although the bill does not mention sexual orientation, opponents fear it could allow business owners to deny services to gays and lesbians for religious reasons.
Pence signed the bill during a private ceremony in his Statehouse office just before 10 a.m. Thursday. He was joined by supportive lawmakers, Franciscan monks and nuns, orthodox Jews, and some of the state's most powerful lobbyists on conservative social issues.
The event was closed to the public and the press.

Many celebrities and politicians immediately slammed the law:

From George Takei on Facebook
I am outraged that Gov. Pence would sign such a divisive measure into law. He has made it clear that LGBT couples, like Brad and me, are now unwelcome in his state. The notion that this bill was not driven by animus against our community is belied by the record and frankly insulting. I will join many in demanding that socially responsible companies withdraw their business, conferences and support from his state and that LGBTs and our friends and supporters refuse to visit or do business with Indiana. It is a sad day for the Hoosier state, and indeed for the many good people of Indiana, for whom this law now stands as a terrible blight upon that state's reputation.

Business and Sports owners are also considering a boycott of Indiana:

From the CEO of Apple:

From Fortune Magazine
Mark Benioff, CEO of cloud computing company Salesforce, told Re/code that his company is reconsidering the investments it’s made in Indiana.
“We’re a major source of income and revenue to the state of Indiana, but we simply cannot support this kind of legislation,” said Benioff. He added that Salesforce has already canceled all programs requiring customers or employees to travel to Indiana.

From Think Progress
. . . the NCAA took a strong stance against the law in a statement from president Mark Emmert.
With the men’s college basketball Final Four coming to Indianapolis next weekend, Emmert said he was “especially concerned” about the impact the law might have.
“The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in the statement. “We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees. We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill.”
The NCAA, based in Indianapolis, had already faced calls from organizations like Freedom To Marry to condemn the law. Jason Collins, the NBA’s first openly gay player, had already tweeted at Pence earlier this week about the law. An openly gay college rowing coach wrote at OutSports that it should immediately move the men’s Final Four somewhere else.

ESPN's Keith Olbermann urged all sports teams to boycott the state:

Charles Barkley:


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