The backlash against Indiana’s anti-gay law continues to gain momentum. On Monday, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy announced that he plans to sign an executive order barring state sponsored travel to Indiana, in response to Indiana’s decision to pass a law permitting religious-based discrimination against gays and lesbians. Malloy expressed his opposition to Indiana’s law on Twitter as well. The Connecticut Governor tweeted:
When new laws turn back the clock on progress, we can’t sit idly by. We are sending a message that discrimination won’t be tolerated.
Connecticut becomes the first state to officially sanction a boycott against Indiana over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The cities of Seattle and San Francisco have also imposed travel bans, prohibiting city-funded trips to the Hoosier state. Several private companies have also declared their intent to boycott the state.
The backlash has clearly caught Indiana Governor Mike Pence and his Republican supporters in the legislature off guard. While the hapless Indiana Governor continues to defend the discriminatory law, it has clearly become a public relations disaster of epic proportions, for his state.
Many conservative Republicans, like Pence, seem not to have adapted to the 21st century reality that courting homophobic bigots is no longer a viable political strategy for boosting one’s approval ratings. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was smart enough to figure that out in 2014, when she rejected a similar bill in her state, but apparently Pence never got the memo. Discrimination isn’t acceptable, and it also isn’t a smart career move in American politics, at least not anymore.
What Pence fails to realize is that we’ve reached a tipping point on LGBTQ rights in America. Not long ago, right-wing politicians could use discrimination against gays and lesbians to ride to victory, and to bolster their credentials with the “Christian” Right. Now, they can still do try to do that, but it is no longer a winning issue for them, with the general public.
The fight for equality, of course, isn’t over, but increasingly the opponents of LGBTQ equality look more like losers digging in deeper for a lost cause, rather than winners successfully rolling back substantive gains. In Indiana, the side for equality may have lost the battle, but they are winning the war. The Connecticut Governor’s decision to add his state to the growing list of entities boycotting Indiana, is just one more nail in the coffin of Mike Pence’s political future.