Lambda Legal Slams Indiana Gov. Pence’s Rush to Sign Discriminatory Religious Exemptions Bill

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March 25, 2015
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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence today signed SB101, the deeply flawed bill designed to allow private businesses, individuals and organizations to discriminate against anyone in Indiana on religious grounds.

SB101 will facilitate discrimination in many areas of life for Indiana families. Even more troubling is Governor Pence’s desperate rush to sign this badly designed bill in the face of fast-growing public and business opposition. Its repercussions are already being felt as national organizations from The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to the enormous Gen Con gaming convention are reevaluating their plans to hold their conventions in Indiana.

One wonders why Governor Pence is in such a hurry. His attempt to end discussion this way won’t succeed, and he will bear main responsibility for the negative financial impacts on Indiana likely to unfold over the next couple of years. That’s what happened to Colorado a bit more than a decade ago, when those seeking freedom to discriminate against gay and transgender people won a majority vote and cost the state dearly.  With so many cities and states competing for conventions and major sports events, why would planners pick Indiana, a place where elected officials have chosen to treat businesses like churches, and to reject every amendment to protect the most basic of civil rights?

At last week’s Indiana House Judiciary Committee hearing, Hoosiers heard the heart-wrenching testimony of Amy Sandler, who with her late wife Niki Quasney battled successfully for recognition of their marriage. Amy spoke courageously and eloquently about her and Niki’s fight for respect, and illustrated the long-term meaning and deeply personal impact of SB101. With Governor Pence’s hasty signature on this bill, he has made a callous trade of short-term politics for the safety and security of Amy, her children and countless Indiana families.”

Read the press release.