Indiana Governor Mike Pence has signed a controversial anti-LGBTI bill into law.
In a private ceremony today, Pence signed SB101 which allows anyone – including private businesses and organizations – to discriminate against LGBTI people and others due to religious beliefs.
‘This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it,’ Pence said in a statement.
‘In fact, it does not even apply to disputes between private parties unless government action is involved. For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nation’s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana.’
The Indiana House of Representatives easily passed the bill this week. It was passed by the Indiana Senate last month and Pence quickly already vowed to sign it into law.
A similar bill was vetoed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer last year after threats of a boycott came from several major companies doing business with the state.
Protests against the Indiana bill did not reach the same fever pitch although GenCon, the world’s largest gaming convention, vowed to pull out of the state if Pence signed the bill.
Lambda Legal is among the groups blasting Pence for signing the bill.
‘One wonders why Governor Pence is in such a hurry,’ said Jennifer Pizer, National Director of Lambda Legal’s Law and Policy Project. ‘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.
‘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?’