Carolina Castoreno: Racism runs rampant in the Hoosier State

Gov. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law on March 26. Photo from Twitter

Student Carolina Castoreno, a member of the Lipan Apache Tribe, addresses the controversy over a purported religious freedom law signed by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R):
As a state in the heartland of the country, Indiana has long been associated with “Hoosier Hospitality” and down-home charm. A sleepy Midwestern gem, it is not accustomed to wide-spread attention for much. One can only imagine the dismay to many Hoosiers that Indiana is now the talk of nation but only because of its bigotry.

Last Thursday, Governor Mike Pence signed into law SB 101, known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The bill was passed by the Republican dominated state legislature (no Democrats voted yes). This act, disguised as providing protection for religious freedom, is a sanctioned enactment of bigotry against members of the LGBTQ community.

Despite Gov. Pence’s denial that the bill allows for discrimination, many of its supporters and architects have stated that no longer will Christian businesses have to serve Homosexuals. The liberal populace of the state and the country has sounded off against the governor with their disgust and outrage. Celebrities such as George Takei of Star Trek fame, Ashton Kutcher, and former Indiana Pacer and NBA great Reggie Miller have all made public statements expressing their opposition to the bill. Organizations and City governments such as the NCAA, Gen-Con, San Francisco, and Seattle are all on board in boycotting Indiana. Even the Republican mayor of Indianapolis, Greg Ballard, laments the passage of the act (no doubt as a response to the revenue his city will lose from the backlash).

This morning, Gov. Pence made an appearance on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" to clarify some aspects of the bill. When asked if the bill allowed for business owners to discriminate against LGBTQ customers, he refused to answer, skirting the question at every single turn

Get the Story:
Carolina Castoreno: Some Clarity for Governor Mike Pence on Religious Freedom (Indian Country Today 3/30)

Also Today:
Ind. to ‘clarify’ new law decried as anti-gay (The Washington Post 3/31)
Indiana Legislators Say They’ll Clarify Beliefs Law (The New York Times 3/31)
Religious Protection Laws, Once Called Shields, Are Now Seen as Cudgels (The New York Times 3/31)

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