On Thursday, Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in a private ceremony, a moment captured on social media via a tweet from @GovPenceIN depicting Pence seated behind his desk, surrounded by an unidentified group of 11 men and seven robed women, six of whom wore headcoverings.
Meanwhile, the Hoosier State remained sharply divided along party and social lines, and appeared to face the possibility of a decline in its reputation as a convention town following the passage of RFRA.
Legislative supporters of Indiana Senate Bill 101, all Republican, argued before passing the bill (63-31) Monday that it would protect members of a faith community in the workplace, for example, a baker who declines a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, or an anesthesiologist who does not want to prepare a woman for an abortion.
Opposing lawmakers, almost entirely Democrat, responded that the measure will provide a legal shield of Jim Crow-type oppression of Indiana’s LGBTQI community.
Pence, a Republican, denied those claims, commenting in his statement, “This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it.”
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, a Republican, released a statement stating that RFRA was the “wrong signal” for Indianapolis and the state.
“Indianapolis strives to be a welcoming place that attracts businesses, conventions, visitors and residents. We are a diverse city, and I want everyone who visits and lives in Indy to feel comfortable here.”
A similar version of the bill had previously passed the Republican-controlled Senate.
(Note for complete list of those House members voting yes, no, and abstaining/excused, see list below)
Earlier in the week, Adrian Swartout, owner and CEO of Gen Con LLC, issued a letter to Pence warning him that the city’s largest convention would move elsewhere if he signed the legislation.
“Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state’s economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years,” the letter stated.
Swartout stated that Gen Con 2014 drew 56,000 attendees to the Indiana Convention Center, representing a yearly economic impact of more than $50 million. Previously, large state employers, among them Eskenazi Health and Cummins, have expressed concern the law would mar Indiana’s reputation in the business community.
On Thursday, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff tweeted a statement that the company would “dramatically reduce our investment” in Indiana, and cancel all business travel to the Hoosier State due to concerns that employees would face discrimination.
Also Thursday, NCAA president Mark Emmert said AFRA “might affect future events as well as our workforce” adding that the NCAA was “deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events.”
Many used social media to weigh in on RFRA, including openly gay NBA player Jason Paul Collins, who tweeted earlier in the week: “Is it going to be legal to discriminate when we come to the Final Four?” Collins was featured on the 2014 Time Magazine’s cover of “100 Most Influential People of the World.”
Forbes.com columnist Ben Kepes posted Thursday that RFRA “feels very much like a prelude to another Kristallnacht,” referencing the infamous ‘Night of Broken Glass’ of November 1938, when Nazis carried out attacks on Jewish citizens, homes, businesses and synagogues.
Within Indiana, many promoted an “Open for Service” movement, which would allow businesses and individuals to identify themselves as offering services to all by posting a decal on their websites and business doors.
The bill’s transit into law was monitored nationally, as many viewed the Indiana legislation as part of an ongoing division between religious conservatives and supporters of gay and lesbian rights and same-sex marriage.
“Indiana is rightly celebrated for the hospitality, generosity, tolerance and values of our people, and that will never change,” Pence said in his statement.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Indiana House Members Voting Yes:
Lloyd Arnold, R–Leavenworth
Michael Aylesworth, R–Hebron
Ron Bacon, R – Boonville
Jim Baird, R – Greencastle
Robert Behning, R – Indianapolis
Bruce Borders, R – Jasonville
Brian Bosma, R – Indianapolis
Mike Braun, R – Jasper
Dr. Tim Brown, R – Crawfordsville
Woody Burton, R – Whiteland
Martin Carbaugh, R – Fort Wayne
Bob Cherry, R – Greenfield
Tony Cook, R – Cicero
Casey Cox, R – Fort Wayne
Wes Culver, R- Goshen
Steve Davisson, R – Salem
Tom Dermody, R – LaPorte
Dale DeVon, R – Granger
Bill Fine, R – Munster
Bill Friend, R – Macy
Dave Frizzell, R – Indianapolis
Randy Frye, R – Greensburg
Douglas Gutwein, R – Francesville
Dick Hamm, R – Richmond
Tim Harmon, R – Bremen
Bob Heaton, R – Terre Haute
Christopher Judy, R – Fort Wayne
Mike Karickoff, R – Kokomo
Eric Koch, R – Bedford
Kathy Krieg Richardson, R – Noblesville
Don Lehe, R – Brookston
Dan Leonard, R – Huntington
Jim Lucas, R – Seymour
Kevin Mahan, R – Hartford City
Peggy Mayfield, R – Martinsville
Jud McMillin, R – Brookville
Wendy McNamara, R – Mount Vernon
Douglas Miller, R – Elkhart
Bob Morris, R – Fort Wayne
Alan Morrison, R – Terre Haute
Sharon Negele, R – Attica
Curt Nisly, R – Goshen
David Ober, R – Albion
Julie Olthoff, R – Crown Point
John Price, R – Greenwood
Rhonda Rhoads, R – Corydon
Donna Schaibley, R – Carmel
Hal Slager, R – Schererville
Ben Smaltz, R – Auburn
Milo Smith, R – Columbus
Ed Soliday, R – Valparaiso
Mike Speedy, R – Indianapolis
Greg Steuerwald, R – Avon
Holli Sullivan, R – Evansville
Jeff Thompson, R – Lizton
Jerry Torr, R – Carmel
Randy Truitt, R – West Lafayette
Matt Ubelhor, R – Bloomfield
Heath VanNatter, R – Kokomo
Thomas Washburne, R – Vincennes
Tim Wesco, R – Osceola
Denny Zent, R – Angola
Cindy Ziemke, R – Batesville
House Members Voting No:
(Five Republican and 26 Democrat representatives voted against SB 101.)
Greg Beumer, R-Modoc
Ed Clere, R-New Albany
Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville
Cindy Kirchhofer, R-Indianapolis
Tom Saunders, R-Lewisville
Terri Austin, D-Anderson
John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis
B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend
Charlie Brown, D-Gary
Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis
Sue Errington, D-Muncie
Dan Forestal, D-Indianapolis
Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne
Terry Goodin, D-Austin
Christina Hale, D-Indianapolis
Clyde Kersey, D-Terre Haute
Shelia Klinker, D-Lafayette
Linda Lawson, D-Hammond
Karlee Macer, D-Indianapolis
Justin Moed, D-Indianapolis
Chuck Moseley, D-Portage
David Niezgodski, D-South Bend
Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City
Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington
Cherrish S. Pryor, D-Indianapolis
Gail Riecken, D-Evansville
Robin Shackleford, D-Indianapolis
Vernon G. Smith, D-Gary
Steven R. Stemler, D-Jeffersonville
Vanessa Summers, D-Indianapolis
Melanie Wright D-Yorktown
Excused or Absent:
Todd Huston, R-Fishers
Matt Lehman, R-Berne
David Wolkins. R-Winona Lake
Gregory D. Porter, D-Indianapolis
Rep. Ryan Dvorak, D-Indianapolis
Earl Harris, D-East Chicago (died Monday afternoon)