We’ve been covering Gen Con‘s reaction to SB 101, the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” Gen Con, which threatened to leave the state if passed, has issued a new statement about the legislation being signed into law calling the decision “disappointing,” and “not unexpected.”
The short version, the convention has a contract to stay in Indianapolis until 2020, however bidding on where the convention will head after that begins about 5 years out, so in other words, within the next year.
The convention said in the mean time, they will focus on inclusion and fun. They have also want to hear about any positive or negative experiences with local hospitality during the convention, and will solicit feedback from the community about their experiences.
We stand behind the convention fully, and are proud they have stood up for inclusion and against bigotry.
On Tuesday we brought you the news that Gen Con, the four day gaming convention (and one of my favorite conventions of the year) sent a letter to Indiana Governor Mike Pence warning the convention may leave the state if SB 101, the supposed “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” was singed into law. The convention, as many else also feel, felt the legislation is discriminatory, and would “allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees.”
The Governor is so proud of the bill, he signed it into law in a private ceremony. Indiana becomes the first state this year to enact such legislation out of the dozen or so states in which similar proposals have been introduced.
The fallout from the legislation signing was quick and fierce. Salesforce, on the the top software as a service companies out there, has decided to “dramatically reduce” their investment in Indiana. The CEO of the company Marc Benioff said in a series of Tweets:
Today we are canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination. http://t.co/SvTwyCHxvE
Gen Con isn’t the only convention to take place in the state. Awesome Con expanded this year to host a convention in Indianapolis as well. We’ve reached out to both conventions for further comment as to their plans or reactions, but have not heard back as we went to press.
Geek conventions don’t have the best record when it comes to these things. In 2010, Arizona signed into law SB 1070 which some say unfairly targets Latinos, and is a violation of the civil rights of all Arizonans. Boycotts of the state due to the law cost the state over $141 million in 2010. Announced in 2010, but launched in 2011, the Amazing Arizona Comic Con was launched, though calls for boycotts were still in full effect. We questioned the choice of not just the convention, but those attending and supporting it. Companies who “champion” diversity and inclusion, and “pushing comics forward” have had no issues pumping money into the economy of a state which clearly cares little of these things. Though, in fairness, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill similar to the one Gov. Pence just signed into law. So, they just dislike people of darker skin there, but homosexuals are ok.
Pence released the below statement after signing the pill into law:
Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith.
The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.
One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.
Fortunately, in the 1990s Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act—limiting government action that would infringe upon religion to only those that did not substantially burden free exercise of religion absent a compelling state interest and in the least restrictive means.
Last year the Supreme Court of the United States upheld religious liberty in the Hobby Lobby case based on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but that act does not apply to individual states or local government action. At present, nineteen states—including our neighbors in Illinois and Kentucky—have adopted Religious Freedom Restoration statutes. And in eleven additional states, the courts have interpreted their constitutions to provide a heightened standard for reviewing government action.
In order to ensure that religious liberty is fully protected under Indiana law, this year our General Assembly joined those 30 states and the federal government to enshrine these principles in Indiana law, and I fully support that action.
This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it. In fact, it does not even apply to disputes between private parties unless government action is involved. For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nation’s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana.
Indiana is rightly celebrated for the hospitality, generosity, tolerance, and values of our people, and that will never change. Faith and religion are important values to millions of Hoosiers and with the passage of this legislation, we ensure that Indiana will continue to be a place where we respect freedom of religion and make certain that government action will always be subject to the highest level of scrutiny that respects the religious beliefs of every Hoosier of every faith.
MARK WAID &
THE HERO INITIATIVE
TO BE A HERO
Help support The Hero Initiative
by using your Ralphs & Food4Less, and Cala/Bell rewards card
Comic fans, its your turn to help comic creators!
Monday, September 27, 2010 – Mark Waid and The Hero Initiative want comic fans to rise up and be a hero! If you live in California, Nevada, Illinois, and Indiana, sign up your Ralphs, Food4Less, Cala Foods or Bell Markets rewards card with the “Community Contributions” program and the next time you shop using your rewards card you’ll be helping comic book creators in need of emergency medical aid, financial support, and other necessities. It’s never been easier to be a hero!
As part of the “Community Contributions” program, Ralphs, Food4Less, Cala Foods and Bell Markets will make a donation to The Hero Initiative every time you shop with your rewards card. Not only are you saving money but you’re saving lives.
Here’s how you too can become a hero!:
1) Log onto your http://www.ralphs.com and sign into your rewards account. If you don’t have a Ralphs.com account sign up, it’s free and it saves you cash!
3) Fill out the information form including The Hero Initiative NPO# and corporate name:
Corporate Name: A Commitment To Our Roots.
4) Start shopping!
If you’ve already signed up but it’s been more than a year, sign up again! Every Sept 1st “Community Contributions” are reset which means if you’re not sure your purchasing power is helping The Hero Initiative, now’s the time to find out!
So tell your family, friends, comic shop acquaintances, Mark Waid is looking for heroes! Sign up those rewards cards and shop at your local Ralphs, Food4Less, Cala Foods and/or Bell Markets to help The Hero Initiative and uphold a tradition of generosity towards comic creators in need of medical, financial, and moral support.
About The Hero Initiative
The Hero Initiative (http://www.heroinitiative.org) is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterdays’ creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work.
About BOOM! Studios
BOOM! Studios (www.boom-studios.com) 2009 “Best Publisher” of the year, generates a wide-ranging catalog of multiple Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated comic books and graphic novels featuring some of the industry’s top talent, including Philip K. Dick’s DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, 20th Century Fox’s 28 DAYS LATER and DIE HARD, The Henson Company’s FARSCAPE, and the original Mark Waid series IRREDEEMABLE. This fall sees BOOM! teaming up with the legendary Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics’ characters Spider-Man, The Hulk, and The X-Men for a line of original superhero series, the legend’s first new superhero creations in nearly 20 years. BOOM!’s youth imprint, BOOM Kids!, is an undisputed industry leader publishing Disney/Pixar’s THE INCREDIBLES, CARS, and TOY STORY, as well as Disney’s THE MUPPETS, DONALD DUCK, UNCLE SCROOGE and WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES. This year, BOOM! Studios celebrates its fifth anniversary.