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Gen Con and others protest new Indiana law

Published: March 26, 2015

In an open letter dated March 23, Gen Con, the Seattle-based consumer and trade gaming convention, urged Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to reconsider his support of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101), which would allow businesses to refuse services to people for religious reasons. Opponents say the law would allow discriminatory practices, particularly against gay people.

 

“Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base,” CEO Adrian Swartout wrote. “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.”

 

Gen Con has been held in Indianapolis for more than a decade. The 2014 convention drew more than 56,000, generating an estimated economic impact of more than $50 million.

 

In a March 26 press release, the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) expressed support for Gen Con’s letter. GAMA executive director John Ward said, “Gen Con’s choosing to take a stand for fair treatment of all their attendees is simply the right and proper thing to do.”

 

In a private ceremony at the Indiana statehouse on the morning of March 26, Gov. Pence signed the bill into law, saying, “Many people of faith feel their religious freedom is under attack by government action.”