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Why Indiana's New Law Is A Flawed Representation Of Its Residents

I don't think Indiana has gotten this much publicity since, well, ever.

As much as I love my home state, there's little chance anyone comes here unless they're looking for vast supplies of corn or the Indy 500.

Lately, however, my Hoosier home has been getting a lot of bad publicity from the new religious freedom law.

For those who still don't know, the religious freedom law allows local businesses and restaurants to refuse service to someone if it interferes with their religious beliefs.

This means a café now has the right to kick out a lesbian couple having dinner together. A pharmacist can legally refuse to refill a women's birth control prescription if he or she doesn't agree with it. Any religious sect could legalize discrimination against divorced people or minorities.

The new law is so incredibly vague that it's hard to see anything but negative consequences coming from it. It's basically a power play by all the arrogant, politician bigots who are upset they lost the battle against gay-marriage this past October.

On a lighter note, there has been an immense amount of backlash against the new law.

From jokes on “Saturday Night Live” to social media posts from Miley Cyrus, Ellen DeGeneres, Seth MacFarlane and many more, people are upset.

The repercussions are so strong, a new hashtag has spread across the Internet: #BoycottIndiana.

This is where I want everyone to take a step back and slow down for a minute.

As a Hoosier (person from Indiana) of 20 years, I have to take a stand for my state. Let me start off by clarifying I in no way, shape or form support the religious freedom law. I think it's legislative discrimination, and I'm ashamed my government thinks it's just to take such a backward step.

My only plea is this: Stop blaming Indiana. It's not our fault. There was no vote, and there was no census taken.

Our voices as citizens were not taken into any consideration when the bill was signed. This is the work of one man, Mike Pence, with a few Republican backers – all finalized in a private ceremony last week.

Since then, thousands have marched through Indianapolis against the bill with signs that read, “Liberty for all Hoosiers,” and “Religious Freedom ≠ Legal Discrimination.”

There's even an online petition calling for a recall on the election of Pence, with upwards of 86,000 signatures.

We, as Hoosiers, are not okay with what is happening in our legislation. I just wanted to clear the air about where the blame falls. It might be simpler to lump us together and “boycott” Indiana as a whole, and who knows, maybe that's the only way to truly get Governor Pence's attention.

But, please, don't think we're all hypocritical jerks just because the few in charge are.

In fact, my city – Bloomington, Indiana – has been ranked as the nation's fifth largest per capita population of same-sex households.

This new bill goes against everything we believe in and every value we've upheld: “Hoosier Hospitality” and making sure everyone feels welcome. A great deal of the online uproar has come from us, and I believe we won't stop until justice is served, for everyone.

By all means, don't stop fighting it. Nothing I've said was meant to chill speech or quiet the riots. I'm simply asking for recognition of who the real opposition is.

Don't judge a larger group of people based on the outrageous opinions of a few people.

That's the entire basis for the religious freedom bill, and we will not stand for that kind of hate in our state.

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Sierra Vandervort

Contributor

Sierra is a proud journalism major from Indiana University. She dreams of rainy Manhattan nights and joining the Peace Corps. Her muses in life include coffee, music festivals and women's rugby. You can see more of her work on daydreaminginink. ...
Sierra is a proud journalism major from Indiana University. She dreams of rainy Manhattan nights and joining the Peace Corps. Her muses in life include coffee, music festivals and women's rugby. You can see more of her work on daydreaminginink. ...

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