Connect with us

Mike Pence’s Anti-Gay RFRA Was A ‘Blockade’ That Cost Indianapolis $60 Million And 12 Conventions

Published

on

City’s Tourism Study Finds Anti-LGBT Perception Direct Result Of RFRA, Continues To Affect Local Economy

A new study just released by the City of Indianapolis’ own tourism board puts the economic impact of Gov. Mike Pence‘s anti-gay Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) at $60 million, plus an estimated 12 conventions lost to other cities likely outside the state.

Visit Indy’s VP of marketing, Chris Gahl, says 12 groups considering Indianapolis reported that the RFRA was the reason.

“In some cases, it was the only reason. In some cases, it was one of a handful of reasons,” Gahl told the Indy Star. “But all 12, it was proactively brought up as a blockade from booking Indianapolis.” 

That new study is one more indication that Pence’s actions cost the Indiana economy hundreds of millions of dollars. Pence even had to pay a PR firm millions to fix the Hoosier brand.

LOOK: Exposed: Mike Pence’s 2000 Congressional Campaign Site Was A War On LGBT People And Women

Mike Pence has a long and disappointing anti-LGBT history. As a Republican U.S. Congressman, Pence voted against the Hate Crimes bill, against repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, against ENDA, and in favor of adding an amendment to the Constitution banning same-sex marriage.

As the Governor of Indiana, Pence’s anti-LGBT beliefs were on full display last year when he ignored international outcry and  signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The RFRA would have made it legal for anyone to discriminate against LGBT people on the basis of religious beliefs. The outrage was so intense, Pence had to appear on national television to explain his decision, and had to ask the state legislature for a bill stating the RFRA could not be used to discriminate against LGBT people, effectively gutting it.

For months, Indiana was the focus of the nation, and drove the perception that Hoosiers are not as welcoming as their reputation claimed. 

Now, several new anti-LGBT bills are being considered by Republican lawmakers in Indiana. One, which NCRM has dubbed “Repeal, Replace, Reload,” would repeal the RFRA, including the statement it is not to be used to discriminate, and replace it with a sweeping, even more dangerous law that expands religious “liberty” and also adds in gun rights protections. 

 

EARLIER:

Guess How Much $$ Indiana Spent Fighting Against Marriage Equality In Court

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s Approval Ratings Crash, Burn After ‘Religious Freedom’ Law Firestorm

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Questions Whether LGBT Civil Rights Are ‘Necessary or Even Possible’

 

Image: Mike Pence signs RFRA into law in event closed to the public. Photo via Twitter.

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

Virginia School Districts Furious After Youngkin Flip Flops on Promise to Allow Local Boards to Decide Mask Mandates

Published

on

For months Virginia’s incoming Republican governor has been promising he would neither mandate masks in schools nor ban school districts from requiring them.

“Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) will not outlaw local COVID-19 mandates when he takes office in January,” reported the far right wing website Daily Wire back in November.

Local ABC affiliate 8 News, also in November reported, “Youngkin won’t try to block local mask, vaccine mandates like other Republican governors.”

Glenn Youngkin was sworn into office on Saturday, January 15, 2022.

Business Insider reports that on Saturday, after Youngkin was sworn into office, he “signed an executive action that banned schools from requiring that students wear masks to stem the spread of COVID-19, instead allowing parents to decide when their children wear masks during the school day.”

Youngkin’s first act as governor was to sign eleven executive orders. Among them: effectively banning any mask mandates in schools across the state, by allowing parents to opt-out for any reason or no reason.

In other words: flip-flopping on his promise.

Youngkin is using his Lt. Governor to threaten angry school districts. Fox News’ John Roberts:

Pundit and political analyst Bill Scher:

Youngkin made a big deal over the weekend claiming schools have to “listen to parents” and if they oppose his mask ban they aren’t listening to parents.

Gov. Youngkin is the one not listening.

In poll after poll after poll after poll Virginia parents make clear they support mask mandates in schools, and Virginians overall support mask mandates, period.

 

 

Continue Reading

News

Top Democrats Renew Call to End Anti-Gay Blood Ban as Red Cross Announces First-Ever National Shortage Crisis

Published

on

Last week the Red Cross issued its first-ever warning of a blood shortage so dire it is calling it a “national crisis.” In response 22 top Democratic Senators signed a letter urging the FDA to once and for all end the ban on men who have sex with men donating blood.

The nearly four-decade old ban was instituted during the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis. In 2015 the FDA reduced the complete and total ban to one where gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men could donate blood if they had abstained from sexual activity for one year. In 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic raged, threatening blood shortages, the FDA moved to a three-month prohibition.

“If the nation’s blood supply does not stabilize soon, life-saving blood may not be available for some patients when it is needed,” warns the Red Cross, citing a 34 percent drop in supply, CBS News reports.

“Any policy that continues to categorically single out the LGBTQ+ community is discriminatory and wrong,” the group of 22 top Democrats, led by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), say in their letter. “Given advances in blood screening and safety technology, a time-based policy for gay and bisexual men is not scientifically sound, continues to effectively exclude an entire group of people, and does not meet the urgent demands of the moment.”

Blood Shortage MSM Donor Deferral Letter FDA HHS Jan 2022 Final by David Badash on Scribd

 

Image by ec-jpr via Flickr and a CC license

Continue Reading

PARTNERING WITH HATE AND ANTI-IMMIGRANT GROUPS

‘Unprecedented’: Trump Tried to ‘Exert Extreme Partisan Influence Over the Census Bureau’ Docs Reveal

Published

on

The Trump administration tried to exert tremendous influence over the 2020 Census, which is now being used in a nationwide redistricting program, often handing Republicans even stronger gerrymandered congressional districts and in some cases attempting to dissolve districts of Democratic members of Congress, while eliminating some majority-Black districts.

Then-President Donald Trump was directly and possibly “illegally” involved, as The Brennan Center for Justice, NYU Law School’s nonprofit public policy institute, reports. The Trump administration also worked directly with an anti-immigrant group that appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of nativist hate groups, a “think tank” devoted to anti-immigration efforts, and with an individual known for “promoting voter suppression efforts.”

“The Trump administration attempted to exert extreme partisan influence over the Census Bureau,” The Brennan Center reveals . It filed multiple Freedom of Information requests with at least ten federal agencies and was forced to sue the Trump administration when it unlawfully refused to produce the requested documents.

The Brennan Center adds that “career Bureau officials pushed back at those attempts. An email among senior officials at the Census Bureau from September 14, 2020, discusses the Commerce Department’s ‘unusually high degree of engagement in technical matters, which is unprecedented.'”

“Other records suggest that the Commerce Department planned to have Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross [photo, above] make personal calls to Republican state governors to urge them to provide state administrative records to the Census Bureau to ‘enhance the frame from which citizenship status is determined.’ (The Brennan Center did not uncover evidence that Commerce planned to make similar calls to Democratic governors.)”

Citing a “a complete lack of public transparency,” The Brennan Center reports “President Trump issued a memo in July 2020 stating that he would illegally attempt to remove undocumented populations from the apportionment count due at the end of December 2020.”

The Trump administration collected or attempted to collect an unprecedented amount of personal data targeting usesrs of welfare programs from dozens of states: “28 states had entered into agreements to share Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) records with the Bureau, 21 to share Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) records, 30 to share Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) records, and three to share driver’s license data.”

Our FOIA records show Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, emailing directly with Secretary Ross in December 2019. The Center for Immigration Studies is an organization classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-immigrant hate group that “has a decades-long history of circulating racist writers, while also associating with white nationalists.” The email also refers to a call from Secretary Ross.

The Center for Immigration Studies was founded by eugenicist and white nationalist John Tanton.

“Commerce Department employees were also engaging with the anti-immigrant Heritage Foundation,” The Brennan Center adds. “An email chain shows a Commerce Department official putting political appointee Nathaniel Cogley into direct contact with Heritage’s Hans Von Spakovsky, an individual the Brennan Center has previously flagged for his extensive background promoting voter suppression efforts.”

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.