Voices from the tech and gaming communities are making themselves heard loud and clear today in Indiana to protest a new law signed by Gov. Mike Pence that would make it legal for business owners to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers.
Seattle-based Gen Con is one of many groups that spoke out in protest of the law. Gen Con’s CEO/owner Adrian Swartout sent this letter to Pence, writing that although Gen Con’s gaming community enjoys Indianapolis as a host city — and brought approximately 56,000 attendees last year who contributed about $50 million to the city’s economy — it would consider moving Gen Con elsewhere if the law was signed.
Salesforce’s CEO Marc Benioff also joined the fray of protestors, tweeting this statement:
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) March 26, 2015
As CNN reports, other orgs that are criticizing the law include the NCAA — Indianapolis is on tap to host the men’s Final Four. Even other religious orgs, including Indianapolis-based Disciples of Christ, are thinking about moving their general assembly elsewhere, according to the Washington Post.
In a statement, Pence cited the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision (aka the government can’t make businesses pay for birth control) as impacting his decision to sign this new “religious freedom” law. “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,” Pence said in the CNN piece.
What’s being seen as a political move to appeal to conservative voters for Pence, who is considering running for president, WaPo has already called out the strategy as a way to “this issue could become a way for candidates competing for the votes of Christian conservatives to try to distinguish themselves.”