Indiana’s new “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” has garnered fierce backlash from all quarters. From the (Republican) mayor of Indianapolis to activists like George Takei, the act has been under assault since it first surfaced on the public radar. And now, a new voice has jumped in: The Indianapolis Star.
The Indianapolis Star, the biggest paper in Indiana, called on Governor Pence and the Republican legislatures to repair the damage it caused in a front-page editorial released Monday night.
The editorial notes that the “much is at stake” and that, if not fixed, their efforts to “retool” the economy, “attract talented workers and thriving businesses,” and “improve the quality of life” for the residents may well be for naught:
We are at a critical moment in Indiana’s history. And much is at stake. Our image. Our reputation as a state that embraces people of diverse backgrounds and makes them feel welcome. And our efforts over many years to retool our economy, to attract talented workers and thriving businesses, and to improve the quality of life for millions of Hoosiers
The newspaper reaches more than 335,000 readers for its daily edition, making its voice heard loud and clear.
The editorial goes on to argue that “bold action” is the only thing that can salvage this sinking ship:
Gov. Mike Pence and the General Assembly need to enact a state law to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, education and public accommodations on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Those protections and RFRA can co-exist. They do elsewhere. Laws protecting sexual orientation and gender identity are not foreign to Indiana
The Star’s president and publisher, Karen Ferguson, posted a picture of the editorial on Twitter, noting, “It’s that important.” Indeed, it is.
— Karen Ferguson (@karenferguson33) March 31, 2015
Whether Pence will do anything remains to be seen. Republicans are remarkably impervious to other people’s pain and suffering . . . until that pain and suffering affects their bottom line, that is.
[h/t and cover image RS]