Theatre Community Erupts Over Anti-Gay Indiana Law

News   Theatre Community Erupts Over Anti-Gay Indiana Law
The theatre community erupted on social media March 26-27 after Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act, effectively allowing state business owners to discriminate against gays if serving them conflicts with their religion.

Actress Audra McDonald led the charge, Tweeting to .@GovPenceIN, "Some in my band are gay & we have 2 gigs in your state next month. Should we call ahead to make sure the hotel accepts us all"?

A few minutes later she tweeted, "Or MAYBE…we need to stick to singing in states that don't legislate hate?"

Writer and performer Harvey Fierstein responded, tweeting, "SHAMEFUL & DISGUSTING NEWS" and "How dare Indiana use the word FREEDOM in their law to institutionalize bigotry & hatred? The passage of that hate bill is UN-AMERICAN!"

Actor George Takei tweeted, "Outraged over Indiana Freedom to Discriminate law, signed today. LGBTs aren't 2nd class citizens. #BoycottIndiana."

On Facebook, actor Patrick Page wrote, "Dear Governor Pence--when you sign a law that even batsh*t-crazy Jan Brewer realized would backfire on her State, you need to get some air outside your bubble. Civilization awaits you." Actor Rory O'Malley tweeted, "I married a Hoosier. I'm devastated by the passing of this discriminatory legislation. It doesn't represent the Indiana I know and love."

On Facebook, actress Julie Halston posted, "Shame on you Indiana!!!"

Blogger and former American Theatre Wing chief Howard Sherman parodied the lyrics to Meredith Willson's The Music Man song "Gary, Indiana," in response:

"Petitioning the Meredith Willson estate for lyric changes as a result of today’s action by Governor Pence:
Gary, Indiana, Gary Indiana, Gary, Indiana,
Let me say it once again.
Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana,
That's the town that shunned me when.
If you'd like to have a logical explanation
How I happened on this ignorant legislation,
I will say without a moment of hesitation
There is just one place
Where I hide my face.
Gary, Indiana,
Gary Indiana,
Not California, Paris, France, New York, or Rome, but--
Gary, Indiana,
Gary, Indiana,
Gary Indiana,
My shame-filled home."

Other communities responded swiftly as well. Gen Con, a video game convention that regularly pumps an estimated $50 million into the state, threatened to pull out in future years if Pence signed the bill.

The law (SB 101), which takes effect July 1, would allow businesses to cite the religious freedom of their owners or employees as a defense if they are sued by a private party for discriminating against homosexuals. Voice your opinion on's Twitter and Facebook pages.

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