SB101 — religious freedom or discrimination against LGBT?
There is a fine line between freedom and discrimination. Sometimes, what is considered a right by some groups is seen by others as discriminatory. And that is what has happened in Indiana with State Bill 101. A controversial religious freedom bill, known as Religious Freedom Restoration Act, will allow business owners to refuse service to LGBT customers, alleging religious reasons.
Last Monday the Indiana House passed the bill (63 to 31 votes) and this Thursday Gov. Mike Pence signed it into law in a private ceremony he announced on Twitter, and later in a press conference.
— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) marzo 26, 2015
"Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith,” Pence said. "The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.”
Opponents of the bill, however, see nothing but discrimination, especially because it stipulates that service could be refused to same-sex couples. Former athlete and the first openly gay professional in U.S. major league sports, Jason Collins used Twitter to complain, saying that the bill would affect him directly. Next week Collins will attend the NCAA men's Final Four in Indianapolis.
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins98) marzo 23, 2015
The passage of SB101 threatens other major events the state might want to organize and host, especially in Indianapolis. According to Indystar, before Pence signed the bill, the organizers of GenCon, the city's largest convention, announced that SB101 could force them to move the event, which annually brings in more than $50 million in revenue and last year drew 56,000 attendees.
Today we are canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination. http://t.co/SvTwyCHxvE
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) marzo 26, 2015
The San Francisco-based company Salesforce said it would cut down its investment in the state if the bill passed, and they are starting to do so. The CEO, Mark Benioff, announced this morning on Twitter that the company is canceling any program that requires its employees to travel to Indiana.