Indiana Governor Mike Pence last week signed into law a bill that allows people and businesses to circumvent state laws on the grounds that they contradict a person’s religious beliefs. This will effectively allow businesses to turn away customers based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or discriminate against people based on their religion.
“Allowing businesses to discriminate against members of the LGBT community or anyone else is wrong, regardless of the reason. Our nation repudiated legal discrimination more than 50 years ago, and we’re not going back,” said Augusta Thomas, AFGE’s national vice president for women’s and fair practices departments.
“This is the same kind of discriminatory behavior that once targeted African Americans, when we were forced to attend separate schools, use separate bathrooms, and drink from separate water fountains than whites,” Thomas said. “Growing up in the segregated South, I experienced intolerance, bigotry and prejudice firsthand. Discrimination is a part of America’s history, but we cannot allow it to be part of our future.”
After a week of heavy criticism, Indiana lawmakers made changes to the law to prohibit discrimination against members of the LGBT community. Governor Pence signed the amendment into law Thursday night.