After issuing a public statement that it would consider alternative destinations for its future shows, the organizers of Gen Con, the largest tabletop-game convention in North America and biggest show at the Indiana Convention Center, who opposed the passing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), are supporting its amendment.
Signed into law on March 26 by Indiana Governor Mike Pence, the purpose of the law was to provide the legal defense of religious freedom for Indiana businesses. Its language prompted several events and conventions, including Gen Con, to reconsider conducting business in the state as it did not afford protection to the LGBTQ community.
Amended on April 2, legislative language was added to clarify that individuals and businesses may not ““refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment or housing to any member or members of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service.”
In response, Gen Con organizers released a third public statement, confirming it will hold its 2015 event in Indianapolis as contracted.
Today, Indiana’s General Assembly overwhelmingly passed an amendment to RFRA, signed by the Governor, that will remove RFRA’s risk of discrimination or refusal of service statewide. The amended law will reflect Indianapolis’ own longstanding human rights ordinance which includes protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. With this amendment, no one can refuse you service under RFRA. Period.
We believe this is an important first step, but is just that, a first step.
The conversation on RFRA legislation has created a great dialog in Indiana, across the country, and at Gen Con itself. We know we always can do more to support diversity at our show, and are discussing some exciting new ways to increase our support for all attendees. Given the great response by Visit Indy, the Indy Chamber, Mayor Greg Ballard, and the businesses of Indianapolis, we believe that all attendees will continue to receive the warm response that we have enjoyed for more than a decade. We won’t stop pushing for more diversity and inclusiveness in Indiana, and we will include new concepts and partnerships into our preparations for Gen Con 2015.
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