More than 100,000 people were estimated to have attended Saturday’s Indiana Pride March and Festival in Indianapolis to show their support just months after the Republican-dominated state legislature passed, and Gov. Mike Pence, signed, a religious exceptions law that would allow business owners to refuse service to gay couples on religious grounds. The law, officially called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
If you would have told me that it would ever be this big, I would have laughed out loud,” longtime attendee Amber Maynard said.
The days after Mr. Pence signed the religious exceptions law are recalled in gay circles here with dread. But the LGBT community and it’s allies across the country stood up for what was right with boycotts and major businesses and conventions including Angie’s List threatening to pull out of the state.
“We hate that we had to go through that,” said Chris Morehead, president of Indy Pride Inc., a local gay rights group that organized this week’s events. “But on the back side of it,
Mr. Morehead said new corporate sponsors signed on for this year’s pride festivities, and many straight people became more vocal in their support for gay rights. Even Gov. Pence, who has said that he abhors discrimination and that the intent of the religious exceptions law was misunderstood, *snort* wrote a brief letter welcoming pride week attendees to Indiana. (In which Pence never mention L. G, B, or T of course.)
“Indiana is a strict, Republican, old-school, man-woman-children” place, said transgender activist Andrea Lacy, who has lived in the state her whole life. “Everything that is not of the norm is always not talked about, it’s pushed to the side, and we have to fight for it.”
And fight we did.
Happy PRIDE Indiana!