It’s not just politicians who are avoiding Indiana over the state’s new religious freedom law, which critics warn could sanction discrimination against LGBT people. The Grammy Award-winning band Wilco has canceled an upcoming performance in Indianapolis over the measure.
“We are canceling our May 7 show at the Murat in Indianapolis. The ‘Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act’ feels like thinly disguised legal discrimination to us. Hope to get back to the Hoosier State someday soon, when this odious measure is repealed. Refunds available at point of purchase,” the band said Monday in a post on Facebook. As of Monday evening, the post had garnered more than 34,000 likes and nearly 8,000 shares.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican who is considered a potential 2016 candidate, has faced a barrage of criticism since he signed Senate Bill 101, also known as the state Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), last week in a closed-door ceremony.
Politicians, celebrities and business leaders – including Apple CEO Tim Cook – have come out against the law. Former NBA stars have pressured the the NCAA, which is based in Indianapolis, to reconsider hosting high-profile sporting events in the state.
Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy signed an executive order Monday barring publicly funded travel to Indiana. The mayors of San Francisco and Seattle have also announced similar moves.
Still, Pence has dug in his heels. The governor said Sunday that the religious freedom law was “about protecting the religious liberty of people of faith and families of faith.” In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Monday evening, the governor said the law had been “grossly misconstrued as a ‘license to discriminate.,” adding, “I abhor discrimination.” Pence said if he saw a restaurant refuse to serve a gay couple, he would avoid the establishment.
Some Indiana Republican lawmakers have pledged to introduce legislation to “clarify” that the law would not permit discrimination.
“What we’re looking at right now is specific clarity to remove the misconception that the RFRA allows the denial of services to any Hoosier. It doesn’t do that,” Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma said at a press conference Monday. “There are those who say — on both sides now — who say it has the potential to do that. There are some who say it absolutely does do that. It’s our intent to clarify that it does not.”
In the meantime, the backlash over the law keeps building.