In the days since Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week, an encouraging multitude has stepped forward to denounce the law, which may allow business owners to refuse LGBT customers. That includes unlikely allies like a Republican mayor, several blue state governments, and now, in the fiercest condemnation yet, The Indianapolis Star.
On Tuesday, the newspaper will run a full, front-page editorial asking Pence and the state legislature to pass legislation protecting citizens from discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender identity, a widely suggested move that would prevent the bill from being wielded against LGBT Indianans.
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.
All of this is at risk because of a new law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that no matter its original intent already has done enormous harm to our state and potentially our economic future.
The consequences will only get worse if our state leaders delay in fixing the deep mess created.
Half steps will not be enough. Half steps will not undo the damage.
Only bold action — action that sends an unmistakable message to the world that our state will not tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens — will be enough to reverse the damage.
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.
While stopping short of advocating a repeal of the bill (versions of which co-exist uncontroversially throughout the country alongside LGBT protections), the paper concludes its plea in no uncertain terms.
"Governor, Indiana is in a state of crisis," writes the Star. "It is worse than you seem to understand."