Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act should be titled the Freedom to Discriminate Act. It would give bigoted religious business owners the right to refuse service on religious grounds. The LGBT community, atheists, divorcees, Muslims and others could be singled out and denied service.
Organizers of Gen Con, America’s largest gaming convention, aren’t fans of Indiana’s Freedom to Discriminate Act. According to HuffPo, Adrian Swartout, owner and CEO of Gen Con, delivered a letter to Pence this week. In the letter, Swartout talks of the diverse crowd Gen Con brings to Indiana:
“Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds.”
Swartout goes on to express concern that Gen Con attendees might be discriminated against. For this reason, he may opt to move the convention to a less bigoted state:
“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 reminds Pence that there are a lot of nerds out there and nerds got cash:
“Last year, Gen Con hosted more than 56,000 attendees…” and Gen Con delivers “more than $50 million dollars to the city” annually.
On Tuesday, Star Trek star and gay rights activist George Takei blasted Gov. Pence and Indiana legislators for the pending pro-discrimination law as well. Takei took to Facebook with the following post:
Pence doesn’t appear concerned about the economic impact the exodus of Gen Con will have on Indiana. He doesn’t appear to have considered that this may be the first of many business relationships lost to the bigoted law. A spokesperson told the Indianapolis Star:
“The governor has been clear on where he stands on this issue and we don’t have anything to add at this time.”
If Pence is unable to find tolerance on his own, perhaps acts by conscientious organizations like Gen Con will help guide him. As they say, money talks.
WISH-TV has filed the following report: