Protesters rally against Indiana religious freedom law
Demonstrations erupted in Indianapolis on Saturday over a religious freedom law passed earlier this week.
USA Today reported that thousands of protesters descended on the Indiana Statehouse over the legislation. Critics believe it will allow Indiana businesses to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.
“Fix the bill” was a common slogan at the rallies, as was the refrain of “No hate in our state,” “Whose state?” “Our state!”
An unidentified State Police trooper estimated the crowd as 3,000 people strong, USA Today said.
Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted his disgust over the law Friday. Cook, who came out as gay last year, said he was “disappointed” by Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“Apple is open for everyone,” he tweeted. “We are deeply disappointed in Indiana’s new law and calling on Arkansas gov. to veto the similar #HB1228.”
Other tech companies expressed similar sentiments Thursday. Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman urged businesses to boycott the Hoosier State, and Salesforce also announced the cancellation of all its travel there.
The NCAA waded into the debate Thursday as well. The athletic organization vowed to reconsider holding future events in the state if the law isn't repealed in the future. The group’s annual Men’s Basketball Tournament has its Final Four games in Indianapolis this season.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed the controversial bill into law Thursday. It says the government “may not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless it has a strong, compelling interest.
“This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it,” Pence, a possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate, said Thursday after the law’s creation.
The law’s defenders believe it will protect businesses from government meddling in their faith-based decisions.
Critics argue it will let business owners discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals instead.