Erik Deckers has lived in the state of Indiana for a long time. He and his family all live in Indianapolis, the heart of the state. Deckers valued his home so much that he took a job with the Indiana Office of Tourism Development as a part-time freelance writer. This position provided him with the opportunity to travel to parts of the state he never knew about and was able to meet people and build experiences that were truly unique and exceptional. He was inviting people to come visit all of the awesome parts of Indiana he got to experience through his writings.
Then, on March 26, the Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, signed a bill that changed the way Deckers viewed his position with the state, as it did for many people. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is giving businesses the opportunity to turn away customers if they feel those customers conflict with their religious beliefs. While Indiana isn't the first state to have a law like this, it IS the only one that doesn't have the LGBTQ community as a protected class. This could mean that it would acceptable for members of the gay community to be discriminated against in Indiana.
This did not sit well with Deckers, at all. On the day the bill was signed, he quit his government job. While he enjoyed all of the adventures he got to go on in his home state, he didn't want to invite people to somewhere that they weren't going to be welcome everywhere. In addition, he didn't feel right receiving a paycheck from a government that is currently enabling discrimination.
Deckers has received a lot of support for his decision to leave his government job, even from his former boss. They understood his need to leave because they want to invite EVERYONE to come to Indiana.
After speaking with Deckers, he really wants two things to come from him quitting. First, he hopes it will show how serious this situation is and the need for it to either be repealed or add the LGBTQ community as a protected class. This was a show of solidarity to express that any kind of discrimination is not OK. Secondly, he wants to let people know that this is a good state with good people and some bad politicians. Through his travels of Indiana he knows just how wonderful and welcoming Indianans can be and others to still see and know that, too.
As of yesterday, Pence held a press conference saying that he will "fix" the language of the act, but many are wary. With protests happening at the capitol, establishments prominently displaying signs of "This business serves everyone," and major online backlash, the change can't happen fast enough for so many Indianans.
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