Indiana Governor Mike Pence, unmoved by the petitions, phone calls, emails, and convention organizers, signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law Thursday morning. The backlash was immediate, with a number of organizations including the NCAA expressing their concern over the bill and how it may affect their future decisions on whether or not to do business or hold events in the state of Indiana.
Pence posted his defense on his Facebook page, saying in part:
This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it. 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.
Indiana is rightly celebrated for the hospitality, generosity, tolerance, and values of our people, and that will never change. Faith and religion are important values to millions of Hoosiers and with the passage of this legislation, we ensure that Indiana will continue to be a place where we respect freedom of religion and make certain that government action will always be subject to the highest level of scrutiny that respects the religious beliefs of every Hoosier of every faith.
Is anyone else wondering what will happen when a Muslim-run business, or a Wiccan-run business, or an Atheist-run business, decides not to serve a fundamentalist Christian? What about a business owned by an African American family, who choose not to serve a neo-Nazi or member of the KKK? Will Pence and his right wing cronies jump in to defend those businesses? Doubtful, because as much as Mike Pence and the rest of the bigots swear this isn’t about discrimination, of course it’s about discrimination. Discrimination by fundamentalist Christians against anyone they don’t like.
Underneath Pence’s Facebook post, the comments range from outright homophobia and hate, to snark and sarcasm, with a few people fighting over syntax, and flat-out rage. Let’s focus on the comments that A) make sense, and B), prove not everyone in Indiana is happy with this pro-discrimination bill. A young man named Gibson Christopher wrote:
I recently applied and was accepted to four universities, one of which was Purdue. Based on what your signing of this bill seems to indicate is the culture in Indiana, I have decided to attend university in a more welcoming, less bigoted state.
Anthony Jurich points out the blatant hypocrisy not only of the law, but of Pence’s defense of signing it:
How will you and the Republicans in this state who supported this law react if and when a Muslim business owner requires women entering his or her business to cover their hair? I’m guessing you’d be appalled. Instead of framing this as a protection of religious liberty, please just be upfront: This law is nothing more than anti-LGBT legislation. You’re making us the laughing stock of this nation.
The Facebook page for Indiana Progressive Liberals simply wrote “Shame on you!”, while Christina Snyder expressed how “embarrassed” she is by “this state right now.” Joseph Lee penned a passionate and well-thought out response, highlighting the number of business owners who did not support SB 101:
The last time I checked, the citizens of the great state of Indiana were the ones who elected you to be our Governor. With that said, you blatantly went against the will of the majority of the people who put you into office to be our Governor!
On top of the citizens of the state of Indiana, businesses headquartered in our state, as well as those organizations that wish to conduct business in our state through either buying, selling, or hosting a convention are meeting in our state were blatantly ignored!
From the Indiana Chamber of Commerce to small businesses, many have voiced their displeasure against Senate Bill 101.
Hoosiers have a long memory and my guess is, they will not forget your signature on SB 101 in the next election!
And Christopher Cuhel writes:
Because of your action Governor, as a gay man, I will never spend any of my money in your state. It is obvious that you feel my money is second class and that people should be able to discriminate behind the veil of their supposed religion. I can’t wait for religious people (meaning Christians since we all know this is why you signed the bill) get denied service. It will be their just desserts. I hope you enjoy living in your state of hypocrisy, hate, and bigotry.
Shame on Mike Pence, and anyone who supports discrimination. This is not about religious freedom, no matter what the right wing says. It’s a license to demean, belittle, and hate, the LGBT community.