* Please note, this is my blog, my thoughts, my space. I welcome a thoughtful polite discussion. Discussion is great, but things like name calling, trolling and rude language isn’t. If I feel that your comments don’t serve a purpose (aka trolling) then I simply will delete your posts.
So, a couple of days ago, the Indiana governor signed a law that legally allows discrimination because of “religious freedom.” Despite warnings from various organizations that this action would prompt businesses to cancel events and potentially leave the state, Governor Pence formally signed this law. When the news of this reached the internet, my Facebook stream blew up.
I was proud of that.
My stream was filled with authors who lived in the state or had previously visited who were disgusted by the law. Others who attend conventions in the state were conflicted. Some businesses who warned the governor about passing the bill, did cancel events in the state, while others publicly stated that they were staying because of contractual obligations but were looking into other options for the future. Even the NCAA president expressed “Concern”.
I have no doubt that this law is a very bad idea for this state and any other state who passes laws like this. While some people might believe that the intentions of such a bill protects religious ideas, the reality is this bill will allow people to openly discriminate against customers without fear of prosecution all under the guise of religion. Already, businesses have declared they are supporters of this law. Other businesses have posted signs that they are LGBT friendly.
The negative impacts of this law are enormous. Many businesses have built up around convention centers where events are held on a consistent basis. If businesses, such as GenCon, decide to either break their contracts or wait and find another venue in another state, Indiana will potentially loose millions. Not only that, but if large businesses and conventions leave, it starts a state wide decay as businesses that depended on those conventions and events close because there is nothing to support them. Tax revenue will be severely decreased and the already struggling infrastructure will continue to crumble.
Not only that, but Indiana has now proven itself to be a non-friendly state to those who are not sic, white and Christian. How can the state attract new business with such a law on the books? Businesses who embrace diversity will not see the state of Indiana as a good place to be. The potential financial impact will also affect new and old businesses. Even a slight loss of tax revenue can have a huge effect on roads and schools. These things affect businesses directly and indirectly.
Perhaps the biggest impact is the huge gaping wound that has been torn in these communities. Indianapolis is a diverse city where GenCon has been held for many years. Many of the businesses have embraced the diverse people who attend the conventions and have reached out to GenCon to show support of the convention and the LGBT community. They are the ones who will suffer the most if these conventions and events move away from the city. Most of these businesses can’t just pack up and leave even though they are disgusted at the actions of their governor. Their business depends on the variety that these events bring to the city. For some, they’ve just seen the possible death sentence.
Before this week, openly discriminating against those who live a different lifestyle, worship a different or no god, or have different skin tones, was illegal. I’m not such a fool to say it never happened–it probably happened more than I want to know about–however, it wasn’t openly legal. This bill opens up a door that won’t close easily. Businesses have already taken sides. Customers have already noted who is for and against this bill. For some it will make an impact as to where they eat dinner, purchase items and who they conduct business with. But being openly on either side also opens up dangers. If things get out of control, I can see other problems such as picketing, small scale rioting and other protests in the worse case scenario. That isn’t something that any city or state want’s to have.
I’m proud of every one of you who have stood up on social media and in public, whether you live in Indiana or not, and said “Hell NO.” Let’s continue to say it loud and clear in every venue we can. Show your support of businesses who openly oppose this law and are LGBT friendly especially if you are in Indiana. It makes an impact, not only financially but emotionally to those who have been slapped in the face by this law.