Thursday Reads: Sweet Schadenfreude

 SchadenfreudeGood Morning!!

It’s a good day for people who believe in minding their own business and letting other people live their lives without be harassed by nosy theocrats. It’s just so much fun seeing a nasty bully like Mike Pence get his just desserts.

This morning the Indianapolis Star broke the news that GOP state legislators have come up with a “fix” for the awful “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” they passed just a short time ago. The proposed changes to the law include the following language:

[T]he new “religious freedom” law does not authorize a provider — including businesses or individuals — to refuse to offer or provide its services, facilities, goods, or public accommodation to any member of the public based on sexual orientation or gender identity, in addition to race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, or military service.

The law will also include protections for people seeking employment and housing.

Ha ha!!

Churches and other religious non-profit organizations will still be allowed to discriminate, however.

Early signs are that neither side will be satisfied with the proposed changes.

The clarifying language is likely to rile socially conservative advocacy groups, which hold significant sway among Republicans at the Statehouse and pushed hard for the religious freedom law after a failed legislative effort last year to enshrine a same-sex marriage ban in the state constitution.

Leaders of three of those groups — the American Family Association of Indiana, the Indiana Family Institute, and Advance America — declined comment or did not return messages from The Star Wednesday.

But in an email update to supporters from the AFA’s Micah Clark, he urged them to contact their state senators and to pray for legislators.

“At this very moment, the Indiana Senate is considering “water-down” language to the recently passed and pro-religious-liberty bill, Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” the email says. “Homosexual activists are demanding Christian business owners in Indiana be forced to compromise their faith.”


Groups who oppose the law itself won’t be happy either.

“We understand that lawmakers are working to ‘fix’ the Indiana RFRA that has done so much harm to Indiana over the past week, but we want to make it clear that we need full protection from discrimination against all LGBT Hoosiers across the state and a guarantee that this RFRA cannot be used to undermine any nondiscrimination protections,” Katie Blair, campaign manager for Freedom Indiana, said in a statement. “According to current media reports, the proposal being considered falls far short of these principles, leaving the door wide open for discrimination.”

The prospect of the clarifying language also failed to prevent the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) from following through Wednesday on its threat of relocating its 6,000-person 2017 convention from Indianapolis because of the new law.

Spokeswoman Cherilyn Williams told The Indianapolis Star that church officials were unsure a legislative fix currently being considered would be adequate to address all of their concerns. The state’s lack of anti-discrimination protections for sexual orientation and sexual identity, in particular soured them on Indiana.

“We’re not sure the fix will be adequate to address all of our concerns, and we felt like we needed to move ahead to allow the hotels to make arrangements,” Williams said.

One of the businesses that strongly opposes the bill is prescription drug giant Eli Lilly. Lilly and two other corporations have been threatened with stock disinvestment by huge medical foundation The California Endowment.

Honestly, I wish I could paste the entire article from the Indy Star here. But I’ve already quoted too much. Please go to the link if you want more.


Remember the “christian” pizza place that JJ wrote about yesterday? Well, they’re close for the time being, according to TMZ:

Memories Pizza — the first Indiana business to declare it would refuse LGBT business — got blasted on the Internet and by phone, but the owner says there’s been a huge misunderstanding … sorta.

Kevin O’Connor tells TMZ he’s had to temporarily close his business after he told a reporter he would refuse to cater a gay wedding under Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act. O’Connor says he was immediately flooded by threatening phone calls, and social media postings.

O’Connor wants to clear up one thing: He says he would never deny service to gay people in his restaurant. However, due to his religious beliefs, he does not believe in gay marriage … and that’s why he wouldn’t service one.

I wonder how many heterosexual weddings this guy has catered? I’d love to see the photos.

As for Mike Pence, Politico has an article with this blaring headline: The Week Mike Pence’s 2016 Dreams Crumbled.

Pence is in trouble, because there is already collateral damage.

At least 10 national conventions are threatening to pull out of commitments to meeting in Indianapolis, according to city tourism officials, who have spent late nights talking down convention organizers in an attempt to keep a grip on the industry that brings in $4.4 billion annually and supports 75,000 jobs. Comedian Nick Offerman and indie band Wilco scuttled upcoming engagements here. Even NASCAR, not known for leftie or social-justice bona fides, expressed disappointment in the legislation.

And just days before the NCAA Final Four Championship is set to tip off, a different kind of March Madness has settled over the city. NCAA President Mark Emmert expressed doubts about maintaining its Indianapolis headquarters—a short walk from the Statehouse.

In a hastily called news conference on Tuesday, Pence—usually keen on playing the happy warrior in public—looked wan and defeated, though his hair was still shaped into its perfect and immoveable silver part. At some turns, in a dulcet tone, Pence employed a humble tack, suggesting the law needed “a fix” and admitting that his defensive performance in a Sunday appearance with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” likely made things worse (“I could have handled that better,” Pence told reporters). At others, he defended the religious freedom bill, criticizing press coverage of it as “reckless” and “sloppy,” and said he harbored no regrets in signing it.

giphy simpsons gif

“It’s been a tough week here in the Hoosier State, but we’re going to move forward,” Pence assured state and national media who had gathered at the Indiana State Library, an unconventional choice for a news conference but a sop to the national interest in the roiling imbroglio. Pence’s regular briefing area wasn’t large enough to accommodate reporters who had descended on the city. (Even Olympic diver Greg Louganis, in town to promote a new book with the mother of Ryan White, the Kokomo teen who died of AIDS 25 years ago this month, surfaced at the presser, ambling around with his black and white Jack Russell terrier, Dobby.)

Ha Ha Ha!!!!

Meanwhile, GOP legislators in Arkansas passed a law that was described in the media as identical to Indiana’s; but according to Nelson Tebbe at Balkinization, it will actually have much worse effects. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, no doubt wanting to avoid the public shaming that Pence has experienced, sent the law back to lawmakers for changes.

Yesterday, the Arkansas legislature passed a state RFRA and sent it to Governor Hutchinson. Today, the governor sent the bill back to the legislature, asking for language that is closer to the federal RFRA. Arkansas is being compared to Indiana, whose RFRA has drawn a firestorm of criticism. But in fact Arkansas law poses a greater danger to civil rights—and that is true regardless of whether the Arkansas RFRA is passed and what it ends up saying. That is because of another law, enacted recently, that prohibits localities from passing LGBT anti-discrimination measures. Considering the overall legal landscape in the state, it is unlikely that any changes in the RFRA bill will improve the grim situation for LGBT citizens of Arkansas.

Start with the current text of the Arkansas RFRA bill, which shares troubling features with Indiana’s law and is even broader in some respects. Most significantly, the Arkansas law is applicable in suits between private parties, just like the Indiana RFRA. As two of us have recently explained, those provisions are designed to change the legal analysis of cases where wedding vendors have refused service to same-sex couples in violation of local civil rights protections.

giphy simpsons laughing and taunting

Other aspects of the Arkansas RFRA bill are even broader than Indiana’s. For example, the Arkansas law protects all corporations and other legal entities, while Indiana’s law only applies to those where the religious beliefs are held by individuals “who have control and substantial legal ownership of the entity.” Moreover, a substantial burden on religion can only be justified under the Arkansas approach if it can be shown that applying the burden “in this particular instance” is “essential” to furthering a compelling governmental interest. Both of the quoted phrases are new to Arkansas. Whether either would matter in litigation is uncertain.

But what makes the Arkansas situation more troubling than the one in Indiana has little to do with the details of the RFRA bill. It is the way the new RFRA interacts with another new Arkansas law. Act 137, which became law in late February of 2015, provides that “A county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state shall not adopt or enforce an ordinance, resolution, rule, or policy that creates a protected classification or prohibits discrimination on a basis not contained in state law.” In other words, localities within Arkansas may not pass anti-discrimination measures that protect LGBT citizens in employment, housing, or public accommodations—because state law does not provide such protections. Arkansas’s stated interest in passing the law was legal uniformity among jurisdictions within the state.

Scary. I don’t think Hutchinson has much chance of being POTUS, but he probably doesn’t want his state to replace Indiana in the national media spotlight either.

So it’s a good day so far. Let’s enjoy the schaedenfreude while we can.

What else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread.


57 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Sweet Schadenfreude”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    From the Muncie Star Press editorial page.

    Our view: Fix RFRA by repealing it.


    We watched as Gov. Mike Pence fumbled repeatedly on national television Sunday over whether the RFRA discriminates. We also watched as he dodged the issues Tuesday during a press conference where he blamed the media for distorting RFRA and calling it a perception problem. We held out hope Pence might see this was a no-win situation for himself as governor and for the state, and call for an outright repeal of the act.

    Instead, he dug in his heels and now seeks a quick fix by inserting language into the act protecting gays and lesbians. We believe the damage caused by this act is beyond any quick fix. The only real solution is an outright repeal.

    Short of that, we have a difficult time envisioning how a Band-Aid in the form of anti-discrimination language can undo the pain, let alone heal the state. The damage was quick, it was severe and it appears to be long-lasting.

    Opposition to RFRA is broad and it’s growing. Here’s just a partial list of companies, organizations and individuals opposing RFRA, according to The Washington Post: Accenture, Angie’s List, Disciples of Christ, Eli Lilly, Gen Con, Indiana University, Levi Staruss & Co., NASCAR, NCAA, Salesforce, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Cher, George Takei, Hillary Clinton, Keith Olbermann, Stephen King, Wilco, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Connecticut, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Ore. Even David Letterman, a huge fan of this state, has weighed in: “This is not the Indiana I remember as a kid,” he said.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Indiana and Arkansas are offering amendments reminiscent of the 1930s when German business owners and corporations were allowed to discriminate against the Jews.

    I fail to see the difference in the intent since both are based on a toxic ideology that is nothing but discrimination. Period.

    You would think we have “advanced” to a higher level in the past 75 years but you would be wrong. The “fundies” have taken over local governments and have managed to get themselves elected into even higher office as they spout their bigotry and stupidity across the nation as a whole.

    Indifference to voting has brought about the lunacy that faces our nation today by those who cannot be bothered to judge the issues and listen to the hateful rhetoric emanating from candidates who no longer hide their biases. Easier to ignore the warning signs when picking a “winning basketball bracket” exceeds common sense in choosing those who wallow in “religious excuses” that bring forth these miserable laws.

  3. Fannie says:

    The republicans proved what they worship more than God is the almighty dollar. They could care less about the good citizens of this country.

    You know I walk daily. I finally went over to neighbor to tell her what a beautiful job she’s been doing on her garden, and she broke down and told me her husband died in the middle of night – couple days ago. I made my biscuits, sausage, and egg, and took her over a batch for her freezer. I know she’s troubled and waiting for her kids to come from out of state. She doesn’t know anyone around here, I’ll be checking in on her from time to time. She’s in her early 70’s, and in need of hugs.

  4. NW Luna says:

    Bwahahahaaha to Gov. Pence! This turn-around came sooner than I would have expected, given the thick-headed bigotry of those legislators.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Pence isn’t worth a pence. Like Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Pence was warned by the LGBT community and the Business community NOT TO SIGN the bill. He thought after he signed it we would just go away, like we use to, once-upon-a-time. NO MORE!!!

  5. TheRealKim says:

    Those zany Hoosiers! Makes ya wanna throw up a little.

  6. ANonOMouse says:

    Rachel had the Mayor of Little Rock on last night and he wants the RFRA completely withdrawn by the State Legislature. According to Rachel’s report Little Rock has put years of planning and laid the ground work into becoming a regional tech-center. This bill will blow those plans out of the water because the Tech-industry is almost unanimously opposed to these bills.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Did you notice that was my hometown newspaper I quoted above? A very conservative paper and disgusted with Pence.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        No I didn’t notice.

        I have some family ties to Indiana. My Grandmother was raised in Vincennes, IN. We visited there a number of times when I was growing up. I still have family in Evansville, I also have friends in Indianapolis and I always enjoyed visiting there, it’s a beautiful state and Indianapolis is a wonderful city.

  7. ANonOMouse says:

    My take is that these GOP State legislatures are stunned that the backlash is so intense and sustained. Just 10 years ago one of these moves would have generated only a few hundred LGBT protesters and then it would be over. Today, with the world so connected by Social Media and the huge number of L/G’s who’ve come out to family and friends, there’s no way to slide these deeds under the rug. These last minute RFRA are intended to do one thing, pre-empt the SCOTUS decision that is likely to happen in June. Most legal analysts believe that Marriage Equality will become the law of the Land after the SCOTUS ruling. Frankly, that scares the poop out of the Professional Haters because many of them have made careers out of scapegoating LGBT people. Who will they grift off of when “stop the gay” is no longer a viable money raising option? After SCOTUS rules these “hate the gay” groups will double down on CHOICE again, because that’s the last of their big money makers. So keep this groups in your mirror.

    From: Wiki reference SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center)

    Abiding Truth Ministries
    American Family Association
    American Vision
    Americans for Truth About Homosexuality
    Bethesda Christian Institute
    Chalcedon Foundation
    Dove World Outreach Center
    Faithful Word Baptist Church
    Family Research Council
    Family Research Institute
    Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment
    Illinois Family Institute
    Jewish Political Action Committee
    Mission: America
    Parents Action League
    Public Advocate of the United States
    Sons of Thundr (Faith Baptist Church)
    Tom Brown Ministries
    Traditional Values Coalition
    True Light Pentecost Church
    United Families International
    Westboro Baptist Church
    Windsor Hills Baptist Church
    World Congress of Families
    You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International

  8. bostonboomer says:

    A Queer Hoosier on Still Loving Indiana

    I felt my self-righteous loathing fall away from me. These people around me—the ones lamenting the state of this bill, and discussing how they were fighting back—they were Indiana. Not Mike Pence, not this bill. And I couldn’t believe I’d momentarily forgotten how being from Indiana actually got me here….

    didn’t leave Indiana because I didn’t feel safe or loved or understood. Yes, there were issues with my family, but I was still in Indiana when I found my community, and when I found acceptance. I feel like I lived two lives in Indiana: one that got me, and one I never gave the chance to get me. But that doesn’t seem very rare. It seems like the complicated relationship most people have with their hometowns.

    I don’t know every Hoosier, but I can’t find one who supported the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Everyone I know—myself included—has been speaking out, marching, letter-writing, doing whatever we can think of to get this bill repealed or tweaked. (There was some progress today, but not enough.) Meanwhile, artists, writers and performers from all over are pulling out of commitments to come to Indiana. “I can’t morally support Indiana with money, and money is the only thing that talks,” they say.

    A little research—just a tiny bit—would show that Mike Pence doesn’t care about money. He’s voted for the RFRA against the wishes of the people who funded his campaign. Ultimately, boycotting Indiana means boycotting the people. Financially and culturally starving a state does not change the minds of the people, even if it does change the minds of the government. Art and media changes minds—at least mine. My thoughts were pretty much in line with the bigoted ones of my church before I stayed up late and watched a Made-for-MTV movie about Matthew Shepard, the 21-year old gay student in Wyoming who was beaten, burned and left to die. I cried all through the movie, the night, and into the next day at school. After that, I couldn’t imagine making fun of someone who was gay. I was twelve years old when I connected the dots. Governor Mike Pence is much older.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Indiana doesn’t want this bill. Punish Pence by going after his donors and supporters–and ALEC.

      • Beata says:

        I agree about going after Pence and the donors who support RFRA. Boycotting the entire state of Indiana is hurtful, economically and otherwise, to everyone who lives here. I don’t know a single Hoosier who supports RFRA.

        Mike Pence barely won the 2012 governor’s race. He received 49.67% of the vote ( with a lot of outside money ). The Democratic candidate, John Gregg, got 46.46% of the vote ( with about zero support from national Democrats, who have never given a rat’s ass about Indiana ). It was one of the closest gubernatorial races in the history of Indiana. Republicans that I know crossed over to vote Democratic in the race because they considered Pence so extreme in his right-wing views. He is not a popular governor.

        The woman who runs the Shakesville site lives in Indiana. She has written about how businesses that are boycotting Indiana should come here and help us to move in a liberal direction rather than punishing Hoosiers for a law not of our making. Go and read some of her very insightful posts.

        Indiana Republicans in power have been chipping away at our civil rights ( Indiana’s voter ID law was the prototype for the laws that came later in other GOP-controlled states ), destroying our public school and library systems, and killing our unions for years now. We need help from people outside Indiana who care about creating a good place for all Hoosiers to live. Boycotts and mockery will not get us to that place but investments and support from liberal businesses and individuals can.

        Hoosiers are not vomit-inducing stereotypes; we are real people. The vast majority of us are caring and compassionate and we do not believe in discrimination toward anyone. We love our state; we want to stay in Indiana, where our homes and families and friends are, and we want to make a better future for all Hoosiers.

        BB, thank you for the heartfelt post about Indiana that you wrote on Tuesday. XOXO

          • bostonboomer says:

            Melissa makes my point so much better than I ever could.

            It is a profoundly heinous piece of legislation, and both progressive and many conservative Hoosiers object to its passage. Those of us who live and do activism in red states knew what was coming: The predictable progressive backlash began with an outpouring of blanket generalizations about how people in Indiana are a waste of space (without a trace of irony that such broad statements include queer Hoosiers), admonishments to progressives in red states that we should just move (as if that is an option for everyone), and a #BoycottIndiana hashtag was started on Twitter.

            Many of the people calling for the boycott are, realistically, individuals who have never set foot in Indiana, never will, and probably couldn’t pick out Indiana on a map. But there were also corporate leaders who immediately embraced the notion of a boycott. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced his company would be “cancelling all required travel to the state of Indiana,” and called on “other tech CEOs and tech industry leaders to please take a stand.”

            All Hoosiers must be punished because “they” elected a moronic asshole by a tiny margin.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Thanks for spelling all that out Beata. I think people like to look down their noses at Indiana–as they also do many rural states. It’s not fair, but It’s hard to get people to understand that. I’m glad you liked my Tuesday post. Thanks so much for your kind words.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Thanks so much for this Beata:

            Hoosiers are not vomit-inducing stereotypes; we are real people. The vast majority of us are caring and compassionate and we do not believe in discrimination toward anyone.

            Exactly what I’ve tried and probably failed to express.

      • babama says:

        I wish I could believe that. Pence signed the law, but it was passed by the legislature that the citizens of Indiana elected. Did those good people who don’t support it do much to fight it while it was going through the legislative process, did all those folks voice their disapproval then? I haven’t met a Californian yet who will admit to voting for Prop 8, but even in my hipster Progressive Bay Area city and precinct four out of every ten voters did so.

        I know Indiana has barriers that make voting difficult and inconvenient. Still, it chaps me to read that Indiana had the lowest in voter turnout in 2014:

        It makes me wonder how many Indiana Progressives (who now don’t want me to boycott) didn’t bother to vote or get out the vote. I get just as ticked off with the Progs who don’t vote here. I lived in bright red Eastern WA for 25 years, I am very used to being on the losing side on election day. But I was taught to always vote and schooled by the example of knowing that people were being beaten and murdered for pursuing the right to vote. Bloody Sunday in Selma happened on my 10th birthday, I won’t ever forget that.

        “The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.”
        There are good people everywhere, in every state and nation, and it’s called ‘fighting the good fight’ for a reason. I won’t feel bad about an organized effort to apply economic and social pressure upon entities who are set on doing harm to me, wherever they may be, and I can’t understand why any good citizen of Indiana would expect me to.

        • bostonboomer says:

          More from Melissa McEwan:

          Here are a few things you need to understand about Indiana:

          We are an incredibly gerrymandered state, where in many districts, candidates run unopposed. Even if you want to vote for someone in a different party, you don’t even have the opportunity to do so.

          ALEC is very active in Indiana and has essentially turned Indiana into a conservative legislation lab. There is an enormous amount of external money that gets funneled into the state. A boycott of the state wouldn’t touch that.

          Our state leadership often acts in contravention of the majority’s will. A majority of Hoosiers opposed the same-sex marriage ban, but the state legislature passed it anyway. Even when progressives and conservatives come together to reject some proposed piece of legislation, we are ignored—and the reason our legislature feels free to do so is because of gerrymandering and external funding.

          Hoosiers are already hurting economically. Earlier this week, a court in Indiana ruled that public schools were allowed to discontinue bus service for schoolchildren, in order to save money. We are a state in which one out of six people depends on food stamps/pantries in order to get enough to eat. Northwest Indiana, the part of the state in which I live, has never recovered from the decimation of the steel industry under Reaganomics. Jobs are scarce. And so are resources to fight to change any of this.

          Please consider reading the whole thing. Continue mocking Indiana instead of fighting ALEC and your state could be next.

          Do you live in Indiana? Have you spent a great deal of time there? If not, why disbelieve those who do live there? I don’t get it. No one believed people MA when we warned against Mike Dukakis and Mitt Romney either. Why do outsiders always assume they know more than people who have actually experienced things on the ground?

          • bostonboomer says:

            What a generalized boycott of Indiana would do is harm working people—among whom are queer business owners, as well as queer employees of inclusive and supportive employers, and also queer employees of discriminatory employers, because that’s the only job they can get in a state with far too few jobs.

            And let’s be honest here: It isn’t like the vast majority of people who are cheering “Boycott Indiana!” had any plans to visit Indiana and spend money in this state, anyway. It’s just a slogan to shout at a state they perceive to be full of fat, poor, lazy, conservative, straight, cis, white people.

            Which underlines what’s really the worst thing about this idea: It’s reflective of a vicious stereotype that disappears the existence of the very people for whom the sloganeers purport to care.

            Exactly. The so-called “progressives” don’t give a shit about Indiana–or Georgia or Louisiana or Kentucky or Tennesee for that matter. But instead of trying to help, “progressives” and fake liberals choose to mock and attack the state and in the process give more power to ALEC, the Koch brothers, and insane Tea Party politicians who couldn’t care less about their own states like Mike Pence, Scott Walker, and Bobby Jindal.

            Thanks for nothing progs.

            I will remember this next time someone claims we’re all in this together or asks me to understand something about how their red state works. This is why Democrats constantly fail. They attack and denigrate each other instead of fighting their real enemies.

          • babama says:

            Questioning and examining are not the same as as disbelieving. Especially about matters where I am not local but none the less impacted, I try to seek a consensus of opinions and examine the data that underlies them. I don’t settle for just one source or opinion set.

            When all is said and done, the work of change in Indiana will be led by her citizens. It sounds like a very hard row to hoe. It will take brave, sustained effort and should be encouraged. It helps no one to ridicule, stereotype or bash one another. I’ve experienced plenty of hostility for being a “Liberal Left Coaster”. Funny thing, people often assume its all easy street and we just got our progress because of, I don’t know, fairy dust or the beaches or some such? The progress we’ve made didn’t come out of nothing or nowhere, it was earned through struggle, sacrifice, compromise. Same as progress everywhere. We have to work and be vigilant to maintain it here same as anywhere.

            I read McEwan”s take as well and I was offended by some of her assumptions. For example, I think its an unfair leap to equate supporting a boycott with being “reflective of a vicious stereotype that disappears the existence of the very people for whom the sloganeers purport to care.” I don’t see that reflected in the corporate and elected leader’s who are withdrawing their money and business. It is certainly not reflective of my intention not to travel or blindly spend my money there. And yes, I’ve been avoiding, boycotting if you will, Indiana (and all other states that don’t have lgbt civil rights protections) for years, but not for the reason(s) she assumes, that “It’s just a slogan to shout at a state they perceive to be full of fat, poor, lazy, conservative, straight, cis, white people.” Please.

            My wife and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary in October. We barely got Federal marriage recognition less than two years ago. We have greatly suffered economically all those years without. We still don’t have full Federal civil rights protection. If we choose to travel to a state without civil rights protections we must accept the possibility that we will be treated as second class citizens, regardless of how ‘nice’ people may be. In certain circumstances, that lack of equality could be disastrous for us, even dangerous. I cannot believe you would honestly expect me, or any other unprotected citizen, to willingly take that kind of risk.

            I have been fighting this fight for decades, and have endured many ups and downs, including some absolutely devastating losses, and have made my share of sacrifices, believe me. I’ve been to the rodeo enough times to have learned some hard truths about how politics works. And I am entering that unbound crone age where I just don’t have time, energy, or inclination to put up with things anymore. I want to see full equality here while I’m alive.

            This is a moment of momentum and my hope is for forward movement towards full equality, at the Federal and the State level in every state.

            Here’s a little more about why this law is so bad for more than just lgbt and how it will weaken all civil rights protections:


        • janicen says:

          In states like Indiana and here in Virginia, state legislatures are dominated by Republicans because of gerrymandering of districts. In Virginia we have a Dem gov and two Dem senators but both state legislative houses have a Republican majority. One can’t make sweeping statements about an electorate based upon who gets elected. Hell, this country didn’t elect G.W.Bush but we got stuck with him for President and he damn near ruined the country. That doesn’t mean all Americans supported his policies.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Thank you. Indiana is one of the most gerrymandered states according to Melissa M.

  9. Fannie says:

    Yay, John Kerry is our hero. The 5 plus 1 did it, and we didn’t have any help from the republicans. As I listened to the success of a framework in place, I also heard John Bolton say don’t waste another minute and nuke Iran. Without any help from the republicans, the liberals in this country have worked under pressures from within our own government, that being the GOP. The children of Reagan seem to forget that we didn’t nuke Russia, and we aren’t going to nuke Iran.

    Give peace a chance.

    I heard King Cotton say to gay people “at least you’re not living in Iran.” Might we remind him we are all people here! It’s really great to be well, human. He ought to try it sometime.

  10. babama says:

    Here is HRC’s assessment of the RFRA ‘fix’ that Pence signed today. There is a link to a graphic in the second paragraph, which summarizes it nicely:

    • bostonboomer says:

      The “fix” is meaningless. I don’t need another article to tell me that.

      If you and others with your condescending and dismissive attitude can’t see that dealing with ALEC and the Koch brothers will require a nationwide fight the we’re all up shit creek. Indiana citizens are the guinea pigs, so that ALEC and the Koch brothers can do the same to every red state. In 2012, Indiana voted for Obama in their primary and general elections. Then ALEC stepped in. If people like you think that has to be dealt with by only the citizens of each state, then we have no chance.

      It’s also odd that a national Democrats and “progressives” think Wisconsin is worth a national fight, but Indiana should just be isolated and left to die alone.

      • babama says:

        “If people like you think that has to be dealt with by only the citizens of each state, then we have no chance.”

        Fortunately, that is not what I think. I intentionally wrote “led by” (in Indiana) because like you, I do think that this is a nationwide fight. I specifically wrote that I think that those who do the work of change in Indiana have a hard job and should be encouraged and by that I mean supported. I agree with you that this is a nationwide fight and, I am someone who believes that we can only win it by uniting in diverse coalitions with acceptance of each other’s differences. I don’t expect this to be easy or comfortable, it often hasn’t been, but it is what I’ve learned from my experience. Especially, for example, when there are differences of opinion about what tactics best serve locally or nationally in a given set of circumstances. Or best serve short or long term objectives. Disagreement happens. The tofu is in how sensitively and fairly it gets aired and resolved.

        In regards to what HRC put out, I don’t think the ‘fix’ meaningless, it falls short for sure, and is potentially deceiving, but the issue is on the table in a way it wasn’t before and that is something to build on.

        My attitude is sincere and I regret that you think otherwise because I have respect for your writing and I care about these issues as I know you do too.

        Next month I am attending a feminist gathering in Wisconsin where many women I know from Indiana will be present as well. I’m sure we will be talking about all this, as well as how things have gone in Wisconsin. I am looking forward to going and learning more with and from them and I thank you for this dialogue today as I know it will inform what I bring to those conversations.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Sorry if I overreacted to your comments.Thanks for expanding on your previous comments. Based on this, I don’t quite understand what your disagreement with me is though. I guess it’s about boycotting Indiana and approving businesses who refuse to invest in the state?

          How will that enable Indiana citizens, who are struggling just to survive economically, lead a movement for political change? I think Melissa is correct that isolating Indiana will make things worse. I particularly think the national Democratic party should be pressured to take an interest in the situation.

          • Berto says:

            Indiana is in the United States, a country which measures success by $$.
            How do you get someone’s attention in the U.S.?
            You hit them in their wallet. Sorry if that hurts the good people of Indiana. Now that we have your attention, do something about this nonsense.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            I don’t know any way, other than boycott, to fight back. Clearly, the vast majority of Indiana citizens did not want, nor are responsible for what Mike Pence and the State Legislature did. But, the problem isn’t with the people who called for a boycott, the problem lays squarely at the feet of the legislature and Pence. It is Pence and GOP Legislators who did this despite the objections of the LGBT and in spite of the warnings from the Business community.

            As you know, my State has similar issues, as do all of the Southern States and many of the Western States. I love my State, but I’m ashamed of how our State Legislature has capitulated to the TeaParty and the right-wing extremist of the GOP.

            Also, it’s important to remember that until Lawrence V. Kansas decision in 2003 that 19 States had anti-sodomy laws, 12 State still do, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.. This has been a lifetime battle for those of us who are LGBT, including the LGBT citizens of Indiana. We’ve had to fight for the right to be able to cohabitate without being arrested, to keep a job without being fired or laid off (my partner has lost 2 jobs over sexual orientation) to housing without fear of eviction because of sexual orientation, to raise our children without the threat of losing them to Local Family Courts because we’re gay. On the gay blogs I visit I’ve read many stories about L/G citizens of Indiana who have fought the same battles. It’s time for this discrimination of LGBT people to end once and for all.

            So, please, understand that we must keep fighting for marriage equality, for ENDA protections, for the right to live our lives without constantly being targeted by religious fear mongers, zealots and haters, and until we are included in States Civil Rights Protection Laws. We must fight wherever legislatures are trying to turn back the clock. We cannot rest!

            FYI….Rachel Maddow announced last night that yesterday, after Hutchinson and Pence signed watered down versions of RFRA, 5 states pulled pending RFRA bills, that were similar to the Indiana Bill, from their legislative agenda. I don’t remember all of the States, but I do remember TN, NC, MI and TX. Obviously this boycott worked and not only in IN and AR.

          • bostonboomer says:


            The story has *my* attention, but I don’t live in Indiana.

            The problem is that Mike Pence doesn’t care about the state losing money, and businesses warned him and the legislature before the bill was passed, much less signed. Pence only accepted the barely watered down bill because of his fruitless dream of being POTUS and helping ALEC take over the entire country.

            As Melissa McEwen wrote, if progressive-minded businesses locate in Indiana, that could help change things for the better because large corporations can influence Pence and his buddies but they don’t give a shit what Indiana citizens think or say.

            Pulling business out of Indiana will make it a much easier place for ALEC to target with their horrible bills. Those bills will then be taken up by other red states. This fight affects us all. Clearly ANonOMouse is more knowledgeable than I am about LGBT discrimination and how to combat it than I am.

            I hate any kind of discrimination, but I am more focused on the war on women and ALEC’s efforts to end legal abortion and birth control and generally discriminate against women. This bill in Indiana will permit women to be refused services too, including from doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            “I hate any kind of discrimination, but I am more focused on the war on women and ALEC’s efforts to end legal abortion and birth control and generally discriminate against women. This bill in Indiana will permit women to be refused services too, including from doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies”

            From everything I’ve read about this particular legislation it isn’t one supported by the KOCH brothers, but it is one where the ALEC apparatus can be and is being used to broadly disseminate the language of this bill to States with a GOP Legislature.

            Discriminating against women and a woman’s right to self determination and discriminating against LGBT is the same thing to the right wing religious zealots. It’s that religious zealotry that drives it’s belief that it has the moral high ground and with that high ground the right to make laws it believes reflects “god’s law”. If you look at the list described as Hate Groups issued by the SPLC you’ll see that the groups that fight against equality in the law for LGBT people also fight against CHOICE and a woman’s right to self-determination regarding her medical decisions. They are the EXACT SAME people.

            We’re in this together. These laws really know no State or gender boundaries. It’s surround and conquer. If we allow them to divide us by State or Sexual orientation they win, we lose.

          • Beata says:

            Actually, when Indiana is being singled out for boycotts because of these laws, it is creating a boundary division. The Indiana boycott hurts Hoosiers; it doesn’t hurt people who live in other states, which I guess is okay with most liberals. They are kinda sorry for us, but hey, Hoosiers are lazy trash who never vote or take any other political action, right? It must suck to be us but whatever.

          • dakinikat says:


            After Indiana ‘Anti-Gay’ Bill, Louisiana Support For Religious Freedom Law Raises Concerns From State Tourism Industry

            With some Louisiana conservatives considering a religious freedom law similar to the measure that has sparked a national boycott against Indiana in recent days, New Orleans tourism leaders are sending a message to state lawmakers: We like gays — and their money.

            “Louisiana depends heavily on tourism,” said Richard Read, a New Orleans-based marketer who works closely with the city’s tourism industry. “The last thing we need is bad press.”

            The fallout from Indiana’s passing last week of the religous freedom law was swift. The NCAA said Indiana’s religious freedom act could make it hard for the state to attract major college sports events. Representatives for NASCAR, Levi Strauss and Twitter decried the law as anti-gay, and said they would not support such “intolerance.” Several state governors said they would ban state-funded travel to Indiana.

            While no amendment to update Louisiana’s religious freedom law has yet been filed – the deadline to do so for the state Legislature’s 2015 session is Friday – state Rep. Mike Johnson, a Republican, has indicated that religious groups were interested in getting a proposal before lawmakers this year. Political observers said such a proposal would probably pass if it went to a vote.

            “This is a Bible belt state…these are the types of laws that are very popular in the Deep South,” said Edward Chervenak, a professor of political science at the University of New Orleans. “Obviously, the New Orleans delegation would be lobbying against it…That doesn’t mean the state Legislature pays attention to what’s happening in New Orleans.”

          • bostonboomer says:


            Of course I agree that we’re all in this together. That goes without saying. But “liberals” who want to target people and corporations in Indiana that opposed this law obviously do not believe we’re all in this together. They are arguing for a unique blanket boycott of Indiana and not advocating boycotts of other states with ALEC-supported laws and they are not suggesting that progressive-minded companies should refuse to do business in those other states either.

            The effects of these laws on women per se are often ignored in the media. MY comment was directed at “Berto.” I think you know that I wholeheartedly support equality for everyone with no exceptions. I understand this isn’t a Koch brothers law. It’s not specifically an ALEC law either, but its supporters are all ALEC members, so I see that as a distinction without a difference. I wrote about this in my Tuesday post.

            But Beata is absolutely right that Indiana citizens are being singled out for abuse in this case, and I’m sorry you don’t agree. I don’t seem to be able to convince anyone of that, but it certainly is true. If you oppose singling out people by state, how can you support a blanket boycott and dis-investment in nonprofits run by Eli Lilly and other health-related corporations, as has been threatened?

  11. ANonOMouse says:

    And this is what the LGBT community lives with 24/7/365. I could post hundreds of these a month, but I don’t because y’all would kick me out. 🙂

    Mike Huckabee: Gay Rights Activists ‘Won’t Stop Until There Are No More Churches’

    Huckabee knows damned good and well this isn’t the truth, but because he’s losing control of what society thinks of us, he’s reduced to fear mongering. Oh no, Teh Dreaded Gay, more commonly referred to as Big Gay, is coming to get your religion!!! Be Afraid, be very, very afraid.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Obviously, I find that disgusting, and nothing could make us kick you out. But I need to point out that these people also target and threaten heterosexual women.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        “But I need to point out that these people also target and threaten heterosexual women.”

        And you are 100% correct, they absolutely do. In fact I noted that in an earlier comment that Indiana RFRA also threatens Women.

  12. Beata says:

    I am not opposed to targeted boycotts against companies that support Indiana’s RFRA. IIRC, that is what was done in California following Prop 8. Companies that supported Prop 8 were identified and boycotted. There was no nationwide “Boycott California” movement led by the entertainment industry or high-tech companies. But Indiana, being a “backward” flyover state that no one cares about anyway ( including the national Democratic party ) is an easy target for blanket boycotts. Hypocrisy, much? I think so.

    BB, I liked your comment about Indiana being worth a national fight just like Wisconsin. When the media were focused on what was happening in Wisconsin, I applauded that. But I also thought, where were the media when the same right-wing agenda was being pushed through in Indiana a few years before? Many Hoosiers were “fighting the good fight” ( one of my late mother’s favorite phrases; she was active throughout her life in a variety of liberal causes ) but no one outside the state was paying attention or offering support to us.

    We will continue to fight on here but it is true that Indiana has become the lab rat of ALEC and the Koch brothers. They pour huge amounts of money into our state’s political system while national Democrats ignore us. Now that “progressive” companies are boycotting Indiana, we will be isolated and punished even further. We’re getting screwed by both the right-wing and the so-called “progressives”. The consequence is that ALEC and the Koch brothers will be able to gain more influence and power here. There will be no big money coming in from the left to challenge them. Similar situations are happening in other “backward” states that “progressives” ignore except when they are mocking them.

    There needs to be a nationwide fight against ALEC, the Kochs and their dangerous agenda. “Boycott Indiana” is not the answer. Following Melissa McEwan’s example, I say to liberal companies “Invest in Indiana” and other GOP-controlled states. Make your presence felt by creating jobs and giving political contributions to our states. Then positive changes can be made that will help the entire country become a more equal and just society.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks for the support, Beata. I agree with you, probably because I grew up in Indiana and visit there often.

      I know there are people “fighting the good fight” against terrible odds in Indiana. One of those people is my mother, who will turn 90 in June. She is still active in the local League of Women Voters (she used to be president). She and her friends are active politically. Muncie is a Democratic city, and so are many other cities and towns in Indiana. She loathes Mike Pence and had to deal with him being her House Rep for years.

      I need someone to show me another state that liberals are targeting for blanket boycotts. Are they boycotting Louisiana because of the ALEC laws Bobby Jindal has signed? Are the citizens of Louisiana being told they are to blame for everything Bobby Jindal does with the support of ALEC and the Koch brothers. Same questions for other states. Georgia, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Kentucky, the Carolinas? Are any of those states being threatened in the same way as Indiana? Please just name one. The only one I know is Arkansas, and those threats haven’t reached the level of the ones against Indiana citizens.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I also agree that any company, store, or other group that supports this law in any state should be boycotted and publicly shamed.

      • janicen says:

        I don’t think there is another state and I hope that it is not the intent of people supporting the boycott to hurt the citizens of Indiana. I think that the boycott idea snowballed because of some perceived success early on. It got good to people and they kept rolling with it. Thanks to the voices of Melissa, you, and Beata, I think people’s eyes will be opened to the notion that there can be too much of a good thing. At least I hope so. Thank you for this perspective.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Thanks. I’m sure that isn’t the intent, but it will be the result. And part of why this happened is the contempt of liberals for rural states like Indiana and the people who live in them.

      • babama says:

        I can give you some. Last year SB1062 passed in Arizona, it would have amended their already existing RFRA to provide a legal defense for individuals and businesses facing discrimination lawsuits if they proved they acted upon a “sincerely held religious belief.” It was vetoed by Gov. Brewer, but only after significant pressure from the NFL (because of 2015 Superbowl), Corporations, civil rights groups, LGBT community & allies, and calls for a boycott. One of the people calling for a boycott then was George Takei:

        It wasn’t the first time Arizona has been boycotted, they were boycotted for years in the ’80’s – 90’s over their refusal to adopt the MLK Holiday and again in 2010 over SB1070, a racist anti immigrant bill that Brewer signed into law:

        After Prop 8 passed in 2008, their were calls for a boycott of Utah because of the involvement of the Mormon church in organizing for and funneling large amounts of out of state money into the campaign to pass Prop 8 and enshrine discrimination into the CA constitution.

        I believe if Georgia had/does pass a similar RFRA conditions there will be such that we would see calls for a boycott as well.

        These are not the only examples. Boycotts are a tactical way of exerting economic and social pressure against unjust actions and laws. Under the right circumstances, they can be effective particularly where an economy relies on hospitality, tourism, conventions and events and big businesses. Enterprises and places that want/need to be perceived as welcoming and inclusive in order to succeed and grow.

        This conversation has me wanting to do some revisiting of boycott history as it relates to lgbt community, because, being old school as I am, I remember it was one of the few tools we had to stand up for ourselves, back in the day (when almost no one stood with us and nearly everybody against us.) I vividly remembering boycotting Coors and Colorado back in the ’70’s, smaller in scale as that was.

        I hope you will at least consider the possibility that the motivation to boycott could be about something more and different than stereotyping or hurting Hoosiers. I am not asking you to agree with me, obviously. Sadly, there are likely a few who do feel that way, largely, I believe, because they are hurting and want to hurt back. I believe the vast majority just want to see justice happen and take what action they can in order to hasten that day. I have already experienced more than enough regional and cultural name calling and stereotyping to last me a lifetime and have learned that it only serves to divide us and bring us down. I am in it (the good fight) to win it for as long as I’m able.

  13. dakinikat says:

    I guess Louisiana is looking to mess up New Orlean’s economy …

    Louisiana’s proposed legislation is not like the law in Indiana which could be used to discriminate against LGBT persons – it will be drafted specifically to allow discrimination. While Indiana’s governor has asked for their “religious freedom” law to have its language clarified to avoid the possibility of state-sanctioned bigotry, Louisiana is going for full-blown prejudice. Yes, Louisiana had to go and outdo Indiana, because heaven forbid other states beat us in the race back to the 19th century.

    State Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City, is drafting a bill that would prohibit the Louisiana government from denying a license, organizational papers and permits to a business based on the owners’ interpretation of marriage. The legislation may end up applying to local parish and city government as well, but Johnson hadn’t finished drafting it yet, he said. Johnson said this measure would ensure that a business owner — a baker for example — who did not want to serve same-sex couples would not be able to get his license or incorporation approval pulled by the government for doing so. The same would apply to businesses who might anger the government by welcoming same-sex marriage. “It is a protection for all persons regardless of their religious viewpoint,” he said. (Source)

    This bill isn’t a copy of the law passed in Indiana which seems to be prefabricated for use by conservative legislatures across the United States; this is legislation that would go beyond that and sanction a very specific type of discrimination under the guise of “religious freedom.” If this sounds familiar, it is a very similar argument to one that Maurice Bessinger used unsuccessfully before the Supreme Court 50 years ago. Mr. Bessinger claimed that despite laws outlawing segregation, his religious beliefs trumped federal law under the 1st Amendment. Maurice Bessinger lost his appeal of Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises to the Supreme Court, in an unanimous decision of 8-0.

    Read more at:

    Here’s the source link.

  14. Fannie says:

    I have been reading, and re-reading all of your post here. And I appreciate you all getting your messages out, and I’ve been spreading the word, and working for change for a long time too. I try to look back on the tactics we used years ago, but given the current situation from the republicans who are stooping so low, that they are moving about on their bellies. I look back over the years, and I think I was feeling a sense of freedom. Now not so much. Have any of you ever witnessed a strip search, do you understand when that happens, you are already stripped of everything. I have never had it done to me, but I have been in the presence of officers who have did it, and it’s a sick experience. I feel sick to see the hate that is spreading, not to just LGBT, but to women, and blacks who seem to be pumped full of bullets, and Latinos who seem to locked up in great numbers. How many more hundreds of years to we have to fight to get our rights as human beings?

    We can’t accept these kind of policies, and behaviors. When you home state, your community gets stirred up by the GOP, we can’t run away from the truth, and it is intended to hurt.

    All I got for you is to keep speaking out, don’t be afraid of anything. I was led to you sky dancers long ago, for this you all have helped me to continue on speaking out. I’m like a visiting granny at Easter time, I got a basket full of goodies, and from one family member here in Idaho, to you in Louisiana, Indiana, Mass. or wherever, you are part of “my world family”. Keep speaking out for me.

  15. ANonOMouse says:

    I just want to make one final comment on this subject then I promise I will not speak of this again at this blog.

    The reason I’m at this blog is Beata. I came to love her through commenting at a “Place that shall go unnamed”, and I still love and respect her. For whatever pain this has caused her, I apologize. I can tell you that this boycott was never intended to hurt ordinary citizens, but there are always ordinary citizens in the fallout. There are also stupid people who will condemn the citizens or the State for what it’s politicians do, but the truth is that the majority of people who’ve supported this boycott, had no animosity for the citizens of Indiana. I personally have no animosity for the citizens of Indiana, but I do have animosity for the powers that forced this insidious bill onto the citizens of Indiana, especially women and the LGBT community.

    This bill became a powder keg because it targeted both Women and LGBT. Comparisons of this bill to the RFRA laws in other states is untrue. Comparisons of this law to the Federal Law are untrue. This bill was intended to give individuals the right to refuse service to anyone if they felt that persons request for service violated their religious conscience. It was written to allow religious beliefs to supersede City non-discrimination laws.This bill was supported by Indiana Right to Life and the Indiana Catholic Conference among other Christian groups including the AFA the FRC and many other Anti-choice, anti-gay groups. As of today most of the groups that supported the bill in it’s original format have not abandoned their support of it. The Indiana Right to life group has not budged from their support of the original bill and are still rejecting the revised bill. The Indiana Catholic Conference has softened a bit, but here is the letter they issued in support of the bill in February 2015.

    Click to access RFRA%20%20SB%20101%20letterhead.pdf

    Thank you to everyone here for allowing me to comment here and for being supportive of the LGBT community. You all have been kind and respectful to me and I appreciate that more than you’ll ever know.

    Peace & Love to all SkyDancers everywhere

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hi Mouse,

      I hope you’re not leaving. That’s what it sounds like. I would miss you terribly. I would also be very disappointed if you follow though on never discussing this again here. LGBT rights has been an important cause for us since the beginning and will continue to be. I’m sorry if I offended you somehow, and I hope you will change your mind. I wouldn’t hurt you for the world.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        No, I’m not leaving BB, I just know that I have a perspective as a Lesbian woman that I am incapable of explaining to people who haven’t experienced what I’ve experienced for the biggest part of 70 years. I have great fondness for you, Dak and JJ and I never want to argue a point of view here that puts me at odds with any of you. Just knowing that all of you care about what happens to the LGBT community and are willing to speak up about it is good enough for me.

        • bostonboomer says:

          But you aren’t at odds with us. Of course I care, and I want to know your perspective. I thought we were having a good discussion. As a I said earlier to Babama, I defer to you on this. I always want to learn from other people. I’ve learned a lot from you and want to learn more.

          Beata and I have lived with the attitude toward Indiana around the country. That’s where I’m coming from anyway. Lots of people out here can’t even be bothered to even remember what state I’m from. I’ve had people say to me, “Oh you’re from one of those “I” states.” Or they’ll just say I’m from Iowa or Illinois. It’s like people in the Midwest don’t even exist as individuals. They assume that Indiana is nothing but cornfield and hicks. It’s tiresome.

          You have to do what feels right to you, but I’m disappointed that you don’t seem to think that airing our views here and arguing them out is a good thing.