Amidst the media chaos over the Religious Freedom Act that Governor Pence signed, Senate Bill 101 (SB-101), it was wonderful to see Mayor Pete Buttigieg take a stand against the bill.
He reaffirmed that South Bend is a welcoming city for all, regardless of shape, shade, size, seniority, sexuality and gender.
Further encouraging to those of us who love being in a diverse and progressive city with its eye on the future, local business owners also chimed in with Mayor Pete. It’s exciting when your city is actively involved in local, state and national politics, bringing the issues to a place where you can engage and effect change.
Many Hoosiers have taken issue with directions the state has taken recently, whether positive or negative, and it seems at least South Bend’s local government is listening to its constituents.
In a press conference held March 27 at LePeep in downtown South Bend, surrounded by local business owners, Mayor Pete addressed concerns about SB-101.
“This is something that sends exactly the wrong message when we have been working so hard to move Indiana into the twenty-first century. It sends the message that some would rather move backwards.”
“Downtown businesses like South Bend Brew Werks and Woochi say they are disappointed in the new law. South Bend Cubs president Joe Hart joined the voices, saying Four Winds Field welcomes everyone in the area,” wndu.com wrote.
Governor Pence said that he would have vetoed a bill that “legalized discrimination,” although some speculate that, since the signing of this bill comes at a time when many were concerned about the 2014 recognition of same-sex marriage, it’s smaller details that allow for discrimination present a larger issue.
“San Francisco taxpayers will not subsidize legally-sanctioned discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by the state of Indiana,” San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced March 27.
George Takei, of both Star Trek and Internet fame, also called to “#boycottIndiana” on Twitter. By the time this goes to print, I’m sure more companies and people will have considered some sort of action to send Governor Pence a strong message about how the state will be treated, so long as a law that could sanction discrimination is in place.
Personally, I am just brimming with pride that a number of local business owners stood with Mayor Pete in a united front showing that Indiana is not full of hate and discrimination, as many in the country see us right now. Strength and creativity can flourish, overcoming adversity. That is what I hope to see in the weeks, months and years to come after this unfortunate law was signed. Until then, I hope all of my friends, and especially my Hoosier friends, can open their doors to all, without discrimination, and show the world how open-minded and loving Hoosiers really are in spite of recent legislation.