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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

RFRA now law

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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)

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