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$50 Million Convention Threatens To Leave Indiana If Governor Signs ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

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The longest-running gaming convention in the world, which brings in $50 million annually to Indiana is threatening to move in response to an anti-gay bill awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Since 1968, Gen Con has been bringing gaming lovers together. The convention, now worth an estimated $50 million in revenue, boasts attracting over 56,000 attendees last year to its current home in Indianapolis, Indiana, where it has resided since 2003. But CEO and owner Adrian Swartout is willing to move Gen Con if Indiana Republican Governor Mike Pence signs SB 101, a controversial anti-gay “religious freedom” bill that is sitting on his desk.

“Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds,” Swartout wrote in a letter to the Governor. “We are happy to provide an environment that welcomes all, and the wide-ranging diversity of our attendees has become a key element to the success and growth of our convention.”

“Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state’s economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years,” she warned.

SB 101 could allow anyone, including businesses, to discriminate against LGBT people, merely by claiming their deeply hed religious beliefs would be compromised if they did not.

Governor Pence has said he is “looking forward” to signing the bill, despite even admitting it is unnecessary.

But Gen Con is not the only big name opposed to the pro-discrimination legislation.

“In recent days, several personalities, including Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee, first openly gay pro athlete Jason Collins and “Star Trek” actor George Takei, have spoken out against the bill,” the Huffington Post reports.

Screen_Shot_2015-03-25_at_8.36.45_AM.jpg 

Visit Indy, Indianapolis’ tourism bureau, also has voiced opposition, even before the bill was passed.

“Our concern is that there could be a misperception with this bill that doesn’t paint a picture of being a warm, welcoming, hospitable place,” Chris Gahl, VP of marketing and communication for Visit Indy said. “It doesn’t align with the brand that is Indianapolis, and for that matter, Indiana. Because it could impact our ability to win convention business down the road — and keep convention business — we raised our hand and said we do have a concern.”

The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), also based in Indianapolis, said it is “examining the details of this bill,” and added “the NCAA national office is committed to an inclusive environment.”

Also on the list criticizing the legislation are Salesforce.com, Fortune 500 member Cummins, Eskenazi Health, and Eli Lilly and Co.

 

Image by Carlos A Smith via Flickr and a CC license
Hat tip: IndyStar

 

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News

President ‘Dementia J. Trump’ Mocked for Not Saying ‘One Coherent Thing’ During Press Briefing

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President Donald Trump’s Monday evening press briefing is being widely panned as a rambling diatribe of complaints and misinformation. The President had difficulty pronouncing many words, including “plasma,” as many noted.

Trump also lied about the timing of any possible vaccine:

And he lied about the state of the pandemic in the U.S.:

Here’s a sampling of what many are saying:

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Dangerous’ Anti-LGBTQ Trump Appointee Who Calls US a ‘Homo-Empire’ Quits – Will Partner With Con Man Jacob Wohl

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A bigoted Trump appointee at the famed U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has just quit but not before announcing she is teaming up with infamous conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman at a Thursday press conference, where she will discuss her “Christian beliefs.”

Merritt Corrigan, who once complained the U.S. is in the clutches of a “homo-empire” that pushes a “tyrannical LGBT agenda,” according to Pro-Publica, made several announcements via her now unlocked but mostly-all deleted Twitter account.

Playing the role of a victim of anti-religious bigotry, Corrigan wrote: “For too long, I’ve remained silent as the media has attacked me for my Christian beliefs, which are shared by the majority of Americans.”

Among them, she says, that “Gay marriage isn’t marriage.” The vast majority of Americans believe that the marriage of two people of the same sex is marriage.

She also appeared to attack transgender Americans, saying, “Men aren’t women.”

Corrigan also erroneously attacked a Democratic Senator who is very supportive of religion, Cory Booker, as a “radical anti-Christian leftist.”

Politico’s Daniel Lippman reported on Corrigan’s resignation. She attacked him too:

On Monday the House Foreign Affairs Committee commented on Corrigan’s resignation, and noted last month it said she is “dangerous” in a press release that called for her to quit. Corrigan demanded Chairman Engel debate her, Burkman, and Wohl.

Jacob Wohl, who is a partner with Jack Burkman, has attempted to frame Dr. Anthony Fauci, Robert Mueller, Pete Buttigieg, and waged false attacks against Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Ilhan Omar, and Elizabeth Warren. As USA Today reported, Wohl also falsely claimed “that pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats and media outlets were a left-wing ‘false flag’ operation.”

Among the few tweets she left up, aside from ones posted today, is this one of her with white nationalism sympathizer Tucker Carlson.

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RELIGIOUS HYPOCRISY

Now-Deleted Photo Allegedly of Jerry Falwell Jr. With Unzipped Pants in the Company of ‘Good Friends’ Stuns Internet

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A Houston Chronicle reporter posted what appears to be a screenshot from Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr’s Instagram account, and it’s going viral on social media. The unconfirmed photo appears to be of Falwell Jr., with his arm around a young woman, his pants unzipped with underwear showing. He is holding a glass.

“More vacation shots,” the caption reads. “Lots of good friends visited us on the yacht. I promised that’s only black water in my glass. It was a prop only.”

Robert Downen, whose bio says he reports on “All things faith/religion” for the Houston Chronicle, tweeted out the screenshot.

Downen says the post is “real,” citing three sources.

Relevant magazine, which says it is “the leading platform reaching Christian twenty- and thirtysomethings,” also called it “a bizarre Instagram post.”

Pulpit & Pen News, which says it is “is a media outreach of the Fellowship Baptist Church,” also reported on the photo, saying: “To say that this behavior is unbecoming and scandalous for a president of a Christian university is an understatement.”

They say Falwell Jr. also posted and then deleted a video of they describe as “Trailer Park Boys” on a yacht.

Some online responses:

 

 

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