Indy Star Editorial Board Demands Pence Pass Anti-Discrimination Law

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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The Indianapolis Star devoted it’s entire front page Tuesday to the “state of crisis” in Indiana, because of the religious freedom law Gov. Mike Pence signed last week.

An editorial titled “FIX THIS NOW” dominates the page. Below the editorial is a plea for readers to use the apologetic hashtag “WeAreIndiana,” and direction to more coverage of the law.

Front page spread (Photo: The Indianapolis Star)

“Governor, Indiana is in a state of crisis,” the board writes in the editorial, which emphasizes the economic consequences of the law. “It is worse than you seem to understand.”

Supporters of the law say it’s intended to protect religious freedom, and point out that similar laws are already in place in other states, but opponents argue it will be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Businesses, organizations and individuals, including several celebrities, are promising to boycott the state. (RELATED: Confused About The Furor Over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law? Read This)

The state’s image and reputation are at stake, the board writes, and the law has already done “enormous” economic harm. “Only bold action — action that sends an unmistakable message to the world that our state will not tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens — will be enough to reverse the damage.”

Protections for gays and lesbians can co-exist with the religious freedom law, they argue, and Pence should enact a law banning discrimination against them immediately.

The board acknowledges the political impossibility of repealing the law, and says a repeal wouldn’t be enough to undo the damage. But a separate law (already in place in Indianapolis) prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, education and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity might do the trick.

“The city’s human rights ordinance provides strong legal protection — and peace of mind —for LGBT citizens; yet, it has not placed an undue burden on businesses,” the board writes.

Gov. Pence declined to call for a separate law in a press conference Tuesday, but did ask for a legislative addition to the religious freedom law — by the end of the week — that makes it clear the law does not give businesses the right to deny services to anyone.

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