And not only did Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard denounce the bill, but Monday, he called upon the Indiana General Assembly to either repeal it or add the necessary protections to it.
As a trump, he signed an executive order – a Declaration of Non-Discrimination – which IGNORES the RFRA:
1. The City hereby affirms its policy that no vendor, contractor, grant recipient, or anyone receiving public funds or benefits of any kind shall discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, or United States military service veteran status, and any breach of this policy shall continue to be considered a mutual breach of the relationship with the city.
2. The City hereby requests the Indiana General Assembly and the Governor to expressly add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in state law.
3. The City hereby requests the Indiana General Assembly and the Governor to expressly exempt the City’s ordinances, resolutions, executive or administrative orders, regulations, customs, and usages from RFRA’s application.
So you may put your “No gays” sign up, but if you do, you give up doing business with the City of Indianapolis and its Republican mayor.
All these groups, individuals and cities are now joined by unions.
The American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which has 1.6 million members, is pulling its 2015 Women’s Conference out of Indianapolis in response to Indiana’s codifying of religious tyranny into law. In October, 900 women planned to meet in Indianapolis. They will meet somewhere else now, and take their money with them.
In a release published on their blog yesterday, AFSCME states:
This past week, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law a bill that legalizes discrimination, allowing businesses to refuse service to customers simply because they are gay or lesbian. Further, since Governor Pence claims disingenuously that it is about religious freedom, his law protects any business owner who refuses to hire someone of a different religion from their own.
This un-American law sets Indiana and our nation back decades in the struggle for civil rights. It is an embarrassment and cannot be tolerated. As such, AFSCME will move our 2015 Women’s Conference in October from Indianapolis to another state. Additional details about the conference’s new location and any necessary date change will be announced as they become available.
The punches keep coming, low and hard, as Indiana Governor Mike Pence staggers from the repeated blows. The so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act looks more and more like a mistake. Pence admits it may need some “clarification” while it’s architects smile with glee as the law does precisely what it was intended to do: permit “No Gays” signs all over Indiana.
It cannot be tolerated. And AFSCME, if Governor Pence does not, gets this:
Throughout our proud history, our union has stood up whenever injustice has occurred – be it for striking sanitation workers in Memphis in 1968, or for the victims of apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. Governor Pence’s law, motivated by ultra-right-wing zealots, is an affront to the vast majority of those in our nation who believe that every American deserves equal treatment under the law, no matter whom they love or where they worship.
AFSCME is pulling our Women’s Conference out of Indiana this fall as a sign of our disgust and disappointment with Governor Pence’s discriminatory law. We stand with the ever-growing number of corporations and associations who are taking similar action this week, and demanding fairness for all in the state of Indiana.
Levi Strauss and The Gap yesterday joined the list of corporations denouncing the RFRA, saying in a statement,
As Indiana, Arkansas, and states around the country enact and consider legislation that perpetuates discrimination, we’re urging State Legislatures to stand up for equality by repealing and voting against these discriminatory laws.
These new laws and legislation, that allow people and businesses to deny service to people based on their sexual orientation, turn back the clock on equality and foster a culture of intolerance.
Discriminatory laws are unquestionably bad for business, but more importantly, they are fundamentally wrong. They must be stopped.
At Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co., we are proud to say we are open to business for everyone.
It is difficult to imagine that the RFRA being revised or watered down. Its supporters don’t even want it “clarified” after all. But until Indiana does something to reverse the course they have taken, the hits will keep coming.
After all, no more are Levi Strauss and The Gap the only companies denouncing RFRA, AFSCME is not the only organization re-evaluating Indiana as a convention site.
There are literally dozens of others.
The question now is, have Indiana bigots done more to rock their own cause back on its heels than any liberal or progressive group could have ever imagined?
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.