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RFRA Opponents Say Measure Could Be Bad for Business

State of Indiana

After clearing both chambers of the General Assembly, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act -- or RFRA -- is on its way to Governor Mike Pence for his signature. Pence has said he intends to sign the law, but some businesses and organizations are asking him to reconsider.

After RFRA passed the House, Pence released a statement saying he supported the measure and looked forward to signing it when it reaches his desk.

Supporters of the bill say it would protect Hoosier companies from conducting business at odds with owners’ religious beliefs. But now opponents of the bill -- who argue it would give businesses a license to discriminate -- are employing a full-court press, asking the governor to reconsider his support and veto the bill.

Gen Con LLC, which organizes Indy’s largest annual convention in both attendance and economic impact, sent a letter to the governor hinting it may reconsider holding future conventions in Indiana if Pence signs RFRA into law.

John McDonald--CEO of Indy-based tech firm CloudOne-- also sent Pence a letter saying he’s afraid RFRA could affect his ability to recruit talent.

“I would like him to pause and consider some of the other possible impacts, particularly in this area of recruiting for technology that he has heretofore been fantastically a supporter of,” McDonald said.

The Indiana RFRA bill is based on a federal law that factored heavily into the U.S. Supreme Court’s so-called “Hobby Lobby decision” involving an Affordable Care Act mandate that employer insurance plans cover female contraception.

Eighteen other states have adopted some state-level form of RFRA, either by statute or constitutional amendment.  

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