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Indiana Right to Discriminate Law Updates – April 1st

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

A lot more news on the state’s right to discriminate law yesterday.

Governor Pence, appearing once again on Fox, claimed to abhor discrimination, invoking Selma:

Indiana Governor Mike Pence appeared on FOX & Friends this morning again drawing false comparisons between Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and legislation that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama signed years ago. Pence was also asked by Steve Doocy about accusations that the law is also racist.

Pence’s response was to invoke Selma: “Five years ago my wife and my family walked the Edmund Pettus Bridge with John Lewis when I co-chaired the pilgrimage to mark the 45th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. I abhor discrimination. If I was in a restaurant and saw a business owner deny services to someone because they were gay, I wouldn’t eat there anymore. Frankly, that’s how most Hoosiers are.”

Governor Pence then held a Press conference, continuing to insist that the law does not allow discrimination, but calling again for a “fix”.

Meanwhile, two GOP leaders admitted it’s legal for a business to discriminate against the LGBT community in the state:

“This law does not create a license to discriminate, and this law does not give businesses a right to deny service to anyone,” Pence said. “I think it would be helpful if the general assembly were to get legislation to my desk that were to make that clear.” The governor, who repeated that he was “proud” to have signed the bill into law last week, rejected allegations that lawmakers intentionally sought to draft a bill that would make Indiana a less welcoming state. “I don’t believe for one minute that it was the intention of the general assembly to create a license to discriminate or deny services to anybody,” said the governor, then reiterating that he would “welcome” legislation to make that clear.

Despite Gov. Mike Pence’s insistence that Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is all about protecting religious freedom and not about discriminating against folks, two Indiana lawmakers have admitted that even without the RFRA, businesses in their state can legally post “no gays allowed” signs. Raw Story reports that Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, and House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, acknowledged that because the state has no law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, such discrimination is legal in most parts of the state.

Think Progress looks at four kinds of discrimination Pence’s track record shows he doesn’t abhor, including:

Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation In The Workplace: While in Congress, then-Rep. Pence voted no on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which proposed to ban discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation. (Gender identity was considered too controversial at the time and stripped out of the bill, but all subsequent versions of the bill have included protections for gender identity as well as sexual orientation.)

Seth Meyers jumped into the debate, taking Governor Pence to task:

David Letterman also mocked the Governor:

Rachel Maddow also looked at the issue:

“It is a clear as day reminder of how conservative politics works in this country — at a very different level from public opinion….In the Terri Schiavo case 10 years ago and the Indiana legalize discrimination case today the rest of the country may have a very distinct revulsion for what is going on, for what politicians are doing…but inside the conservative movement they are listening to different voices, they are hearing different people, and if enough of them are in power, they get their way, as the country watches, slack-jawed and shocked, and they don’t care.”

Actor Nick Offerman, from Parks and Recd and also married to Megan Mullally, had this to say to Governor Pence:

Nick Offerman Tweet

Newsman Keith Olbermann wants the Final Four moved out of Indiana:

“The football league in this country and the college sports league in this country are tacitly supporting a law that allows those that have voluntarily chosen to join a group to discriminate and be prejudiced at the expense of those who may or may not have had any choice at all and the reality of course is not. The NCAA needs to move the Final Four out of Indianapolis and the NFL must warn Indiana and the Colts. Because ultimately you and I have a choice – do we participate in these laws, or do we do only as much as even the narrow prejudiced sports leagues of the 1930s, the 40s, and the 50s did. Opt out. Stay away, keep our business elsewhere until the laws of hate are gone.”

Meanwhile, CT Governor Dannel Malloy called on the NCAA to move the 2016 women’s Final Four out of the state:

Connecticut’s governor and UConn’s athletic director called on the NCAA on Monday to consider moving next year’s Women’s Final Four out of Indianapolis unless changes are made to Indiana’s new religious-objections law.

Greg Louganis, Jason Collins, and other gay athletes plan to protest at the NCAA Final Four:

Greg Louganis and Jason Collins and other gay athletes are planning to protest Indiana’s ‘religious freedom’ law during the NCAA Final Four, despite Gov Mike Pence’s promise to ‘fix’ the law before the national college basketball championship begins on Saturday… ‘It should be totally repealed,’ Louganis, whose husband is from Indiana, said on the ABC podcast Capital Games. ‘Everybody should feel embraced. And I feel that the majority of the populace of Indiana do embrace all people. I felt very embraced… They’ve been so wonderful. This is just so contrary to my feelings of Indiana people.’

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie attacked the law:

“The recent passage of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act has brought significant negative attention to the state of Indiana throughout the nation and indeed the world, because the law is widely viewed as signaling an unwelcoming and discriminatory atmosphere in our state. For its part, Indiana University remains steadfast in our longstanding commitment to value and respect the benefits of a diverse society. It is a fundamental core value of our culture at Indiana University and one that we cherish. To that end, Indiana University will recruit, hire, promote, educate and provide services to persons without regard to their age, race, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, marital status, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status. Equally importantly, we will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of any of these same factors.”

Even Nascar has denounced the new law:

“NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana. We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in Indiana and anywhere else we race.”

Nike also stood up against the new law:

“NIKE proudly stands for inclusion for all. We believe laws should treat people equally and prevent discrimination. NIKE has led efforts alongside other businesses to defeat discriminatory laws in Oregon and opposes the new law in Indiana which is bad for our employees, bad for our consumers, bad for business and bad for society as a whole. We hope Indiana will quickly resolve this.”

Honeymaid once again supported LGBT rights

Honeymaid Indiana Ad with an ad targeting the state:

Towleroad.com has a list of many of the companies who have now come out in opposition:

Dozens of companies are taking action against Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act including NASCAR (below), Anthem, Cummins, Dow, Roche, Starbucks, Apple, Angie’s List, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin (below), YELP, Salesforce, Eli Lilly, NBA, WNBA, Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever (below), Marriott (below), NCAA, and Gen Con:

The New York Times looks at how tech companies have come together in opposition to the law:

The technology industry’s leaders have found their collective voice on a social issue in the last week, rallying with great intensity against a new Indiana law that will allow businesses, they predict, to discriminate against gay couples. The heads of Apple, Salesforce.com, Yelp and Square have all publicly criticized the law, as have some leaders from other industries. But on many other issues of the day that ignite strong passions — from race relations to income inequality to gun control — tech leaders are much quieter.

Washington DC just banned official travel to the state:

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Tuesday issued an executive order banning the use of city funds for travel to Indiana in response to the state’s approval of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say will allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people. – See more at: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/03/31/bowser-bans-d-c-government-travel-to-indiana/#sthash.Tehxv4Gz.dpuf

Former Maryland Governor and likely Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley called out GOP candidates for their support of the law and others like it:

“I think it’s shameful that presidential candidates in this day and age would try to give cover to a law that is sweeping across a lot of Republican-governed states,” he said, and that would “give license to the discrimination of gay and lesbian people.” He said: “It’s not who we are as a country.”

The Indianapolis visitor’s bureau hi-lighted the city’s LGBT friendliness yesterday:

Yesterday, visitindy.com added a new graphic to its website to highlight that it welcomes everyone to the city of the Indianapolis. While the nation has been focused upon the issues surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed in Indiana last week, it gets lost that many of the citizens of Indiana are fair-minded welcoming people.

VisitIndy

In the midst of the controversy, the Rolling Stones announced their tour dates:

The Rolling Stones announced a North American tour Tuesday which will include a stop in a now-controversial location — Indianapolis, Ind. The band has scheduled a concert at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 4 near the end of the two-month tour. The Speedway is one of the largest venues they’ll play in, capable of holding roughly 400,000 fans.

Although Connecticut’s Governor has banned official state travel to Indiana, a UoC coach may still attend the Final Four:

University of Connecticut basketball coach Kevin Ollie could still travel to Indiana for the Final Four and the National Association of Basketball Coaches convention this week, despite an Indiana travel ban Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy imposed on all state employees, CT News reports… Ollie’s appearance at the hoops extravaganza is likely part of a contractual obligation that was hammered out long before the controversy, Hearst Connecticut Media has learned.

An Indiana Pizza Shop is thrilled they can now legally discriminate against gays without fear of penalty:

Memories Pizza, a pizza shop owned by the O’Connor family in Walker, Indiana, says they’re happy Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because it backs up their beliefs, and if they were asked to cater a gay wedding, they wouldn’t. Said Crystal O’Connor to ABC57: “If a gay couple was to come in and they wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no…We are a Christian establishment…We’re not discriminating against anyone, that’s just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything. We definitely agree with the bill. I do not think it’s targeting gays. I don’t think it’s discrimination. It’s supposed to help people that have a religious belief.”

Anti-gay commentator Todd Starnes is pissed that Pence is not holding the line on discrimination:

Pence in reaction to question about protecting Christian business: This law does not give anyone a license to discriminate.” #shameful. Pence wants a religious liberty bill that does not protect religious liberty. #cowardice #capitulation #spineless

Glenn Beck thinks the reaction to the bill will lead to concentration camps:

The Advocate rounds up GOP Presidential candidate reactions – so far all in favor:

Except for Chris Christie and Rand Paul, who haven’t yet commented directly on Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act… several Republican heavy hitters have lined up to echo Gov. Pence’s unwavering support for the law as it was passed. Here’s what the Republicans reportedly considering a presidential run in 2016 have said about Indiana’s law.

Focus on the Family claims liberals have launched a war on the freedom of religion:

Rush Limbaugh also “rushed” to the law’s defense:

Good old Rush Limbaugh. Not content with claiming that same-sex marriage will lead to incest, he’s now got a bee in his bonnet because you might want to marry your dolphin or something. Addressing the backlash to Indiana’s ‘right to discriminate’ law on the March 31st edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, he argues that the ban is “not about honoring…discrimination against homosexuality, it’s about people whose religious beliefs prohibit them from engaging in activity which lends credence in support of gay marriage.” Nothing out of the ordinary so far. However, Limbaugh goes on to claim that a “UK woman who wanted to marry her dog…I think..and did…you remember that? She married a dolphin… ok, whatever. She wanted to marry an animal that was not a man…”

Rick Santorum announced his support of the state’s law and others like it:

The only sensitivity training we need is to respect every person. Tolerance is the most misused word in the English language. Tolerance means you can say really horrible nasty things that I hate and offend me. That’s how we get along. You have a right to be mean — a right to be nasty to people. That’s how this country works, because we have thick skins and we aren’t offended. Should a gay or lesbian-owned printshop have to print signs for the Westboro Baptists that say ‘God hates fags’? Should a Jewish printshop have to make signs for the KKK? Should a kosher deli have to serve non-kosher food? It’s a two-way street. Tolerance is a two-way street. If you’re saying that ‘your religious liberties are not as important as my — fill in the blank,’ then I’ve got a problem with that.

Several anti-gay “Christian” groups are now boycotting Angie’s List to punish the company for its opposition to the law:

The FRC’s boycott announcement came hours after the same move yesterday by the AFA’s One Million Moms: Angie’s List, a company that lists crowd-sourced recommendations for local services, decided that religious freedom wasn’t good for business and has threatened to suspend plans to expand its Indianapolis headquarters because of the passage of the law. Bottom line: Angie’s List takes the position that religious freedom is bad for business. We, on the other hand, think freedom is the foundation for good business. Businesses that undermine freedom — especially our First Freedom — ultimately undermine their own business. If you have a membership to Angie’s List, I urge you to cancel your membership and show them that as a supporter of religious liberty, you won’t stand for paying dues to a company that disregards the freedom of people to live their daily lives according to what they believe. When you cancel, politely let them know the reason why.

The Washington Post looks at how businesses have shifted on anti-LGBT discrimination:

Economists used to assume that discrimination helped firms attract customers and workers who themselves supported discrimination. As economists such as Gary Becker and Milton Friedman argued, if the customers didn’t care, the owner would pay a penalty in higher wages or lost business from refusing to hire or serve certain groups. As Rampell writes, the Indiana example shows that businesses’ concerns have shifted.

The Indy Star looks at the impact the controversy in the state is having on similar bills in other states:

A “religious freedom” measure similar to Indiana’s is close to becoming law in Arkansas, despite the national uproar and economic boycott Indiana faces as Gov. Mike Pence scrambles to change his state’s law… “To the extent that both Georgia and Indiana have larger populations, and Atlanta and Indianapolis are big magnets for large events, I think the business pressure is more salient there than it is in Arkansas,” he said. And that’s despite the fact that one of the opponents to the Arkansas measure is heavyweight Wal-Mart.

USA, Oregon: Oregon United for Marriage Calls for Quick Ruling on Marriage Equality

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Oregon Gay MarriageBoth the group pushing for a marriage equality vote in November and a group of corporations in favor of it made news yesterday.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Sponsors of a ballot measure to legalize gay marriage in Oregon asked a federal judge on Tuesday to make a speedy ruling in a case that challenges the state’s ban on same-sex weddings. At the same time, top Oregon employers such as Nike and Intel threw their support to ending the restrictions. OregonThe campaign said in a court filing that it won’t go forward with its initiative if U.S. District Judge Michael McShane overturns the ban quickly. Otherwise, the sponsors said, they would press ahead with the campaign — at great time and expense. McShane has scheduled oral arguments for April 23 on two consolidated lawsuits challenging the gay marriage prohibition. The campaign must submit 116,284 valid signatures by July 3 to make the November ballot, and organizers say they have more than enough names.

What do you think? Will marriage equality come to Oregon by judicial ruling or by public vote?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oregon.

Pennsylvania, USA: Philadelphia Ordinance Incentivizes Companies to Extend benefits to LGBT Employees

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Philadelphia Mayor Michael NutterPhiladelphia’s Mayor signed an innovate bill into law this week. On Top Magazine reports:

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on Thursday signed an ordinance expanding rights for LGBT people in the city. Nutter, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and a member of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, a group of 300 plus mayors who have pledged to support efforts to legalize gay marriage in their states, said he hoped the measure would help Philadelphia become “the most LGBT-friendly” city in the world. Among its provisions is a first-in-the-nation tax credit to companies that extend health care coverage to the domestic partners of LGBT workers and their children.

While the state stalls on LGBT equality, the cities take the lead.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Pennsylvania.

Business Support Key in Marriage Equality Victories

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

MicrosoftGay marriage wouldn’t have passed in the Washington state Legislature this year without Gov. Chris Gregoire’s decision to reverse course and push for it. Legislators’ personal pleas to colleagues, as epitomized by Republican Rep. Maureen Walsh’s passionate floor speech about her desire to throw her daughter a wedding someday, also played a major role. The speech went viral on YouTube.

But according to the bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Sen. Ed Murray, there was nothing more crucial to the legalization of gay marriage than support from high-profile businesses such as Nike Inc. and Microsoft Corp. “It’s how we got moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats to vote for this,” he said.

Murray and others first harnessed support from the business community for gay rights in 2006 by using an economic development argument to pass an anti-discrimination bill that had been in the works for 29 years. Support from Boeing Co. and Microsoft helped turn key votes.

Full Story from the Bangor Daily News

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MN: Companies Staying Out of Marriage Equality Ban Fight

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Minnesota Gay Marriage BanOnly 1 of 13 Minnesota-based Fortune 500 companies that offer partner benefits to gay and lesbian employees publicly opposes a proposed amendment that would ban gay marriage in the state.

The companies, nearly three-quarters of the state’s Fortune 500 companies, were contacted by the Associated Press.

In addition to offering domestic partner benefits, many of the companies, such as Target and General Mills, have a long history of supporting gay rights causes.

Full Story from On Top Magazine

Click here for gay wedding resources in Minnesota.

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NY: Some Companies Will Require Marriage Licenses for Partner Benefits

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Same-sex couples, after fighting to be allowed to marry in New York and other states, are now struggling with what that might mean for their domestic-partner benefits. Many companies already offer domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples. Now that same-sex couples can marry in six states and the District of Columbia, companies must decide if same-sex couples should marry to receive those benefits.

Some companies in New York, and elsewhere, have decided to no longer offer domestic partner benefits. Instead, gay couples would be required to get married in order to receive the benefits, according to The New York Times. Corning, I.B.M. and Raytheon have decided to change their policies. Employees at these companies who currently have domestic partner benefits for their same-sex partners will be required to marry if they want to continue receiving those benefits.

The change may seem like good news to those who want to have same-sex couples treated the same as married heterosexual couples, but some of the same groups that fought to get their states to recognize same-sex marriages are raising concerns about the policy shift.

Full Story From the Christian Post

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