As I’ve said before, Gen Con’s reputation as the largest gaming convention in North America eclipses its status as one of the largest writing conventions in North America, offering guidance on all aspects of writing and publishing. On Monday, March 23, Gen Con’s CEO sent a letter (PDF) to Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence, warning that a controversial religious freedom bill he was about to sign into law would affect Gen Con’s decision whether to stay in Indianapolis past the expiration of its contract in 2020. This morning, Governor Pence signed that bill.
I covered the particulars in a post to GamerTell earlier today. Essentially, the controversy is over a state-level implementation of a Federal religious protection bill that is considerably broader than the versions implemented at the Federal level, and in most of the 19 other states that have passed similar legislation. An attempt to add similar broad powers to the Arizona implementation of the law was vetoed by Arizona’s governor in 2013. These broad powers could permit businesses to cite freedom of religion in order to discriminate against GLBT customers.
A number of other businesses and conventions have begun making their own displeasure clear, and Gen Con will have a further statement available later today. Indianapolis’s tourism bureau and mayor aren’t pleased either. Neither is George Takei. Good for all of them for taking a principled stand against a bad law!