Recently Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into law, which would allow any individual or corporation to cite its religious beliefs as a defense when sued by a private party. However, opponents of the law fear that this act could lead to discrimination, especially for the LGBTQ community.
Because of the potential discrimination that the RFRA could bring into the community, many businesses, cities and states have decided to boycott Indiana, including San Francisco. Conferences and events that were planned in Indiana have even been canceled because of the RFRA. After the controversy that the RFRA has caused, Pence and legislators have since then amended the act, stating that the RFRA will not “create a license” to discriminate against anyone, including those of the LGBTQ community.
So, what do we think about all of this?
The Campanil understands the potential dangers of having an act like the RFRA. It promotes discrimination towards a marginalized group, something that we refuse to support. There have already been restaurants and other establishments that support the act (i.e. Indiana’s restaurant Memories Pizza) citing “religious beliefs” as their reasoning. Although supporters believe that this act is only protecting religious freedom, we recognize the bigotry and trouble that can come out of this. This act could set a precedent, causing states to potentially pass acts like the RFRA. Overall, we understand the reasoning behind boycotting Indiana: to send an impactful message to Indiana’s legislature.
At the same time, The Campanil recognizes how this act affects those in Indiana, particularly those in the LGBTQ community. There also could be businesses and organizations that either identify as part of the LGBTQ community or LGBTQ friendly, and this boycott could cause these establishments to suffer. We also recognize the strange position that this act has placed Indiana in, especially because Indiana is one of the 37 states that have legalized LGBTQ marriages. Overall, these thoughts made us think about the livelihood of others in Indiana, particularly for the LGBTQ community and LGBTQ friendly establishments there.
The Campanil knows the trouble that may come out of this act. It could lead to discrimination of a marginalized group. At the same time, we have to think about all perspectives and politics with this issue, especially those that it affected the most. As a diverse group of journalists, editors and students, we understand the importance of having an open dialogue about this issue, for it could set precedents for other states and could potentially affect us in the future to some degree.