Indiana's 'Religious Freedom' Law Sparks Protests, Boycotts

/ Source: NBC News

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

INDIANAPOLIS — Hundreds of people gathered outside of the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday, some carrying "no hate in our state" signs, to rally against a new law that opponents say could sanction discrimination against gay people.

The law's supporters, however, contend the discrimination claims are overblown and insist it will keep the government from compelling people to provide services they find objectionable on religious grounds. Since Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law Thursday, Indiana has been widely criticized by businesses and organizations around the country, as well as on social media with the hashtag #boycottindiana.

Local officials and business groups around the state hope to stem the fallout, though consumer review service Angie's List said Saturday that it is suspending a planned expansion in Indianapolis because of the new law. And Seattle Mayor Ed Murray prohibited the use of city government funds for city employees to travel to Indiana because of the law. "Seattleites know that discrimination has no place in our City — that's just equality '101'," Murray said in a statement.

The measure, which takes effect in July, prohibits state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of "person" includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Saturday's crowd stretched across the south steps and lawn of the Statehouse building. At one point, they chanted "Pence must go," and many held signs like "I'm pretty sure God doesn't hate anyone" and "No hate in our state." And stickers touting "This business serves everyone" have been appearing in many businesses' windows.

The Indianapolis-based NCAA has expressed concerns about the law and has suggested it could move future events elsewhere; the men's Final Four will be held in the city next weekend.

IN-DEPTH

SOCIAL

— The Associated Press

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news