Gaming convention threatens to leave if Indiana governor signs anti-gay bill

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Photo by Gen Con

Gen Con, the gaming convention that brought in over 50,000 attendees last year, has threatened to take the annual event elsewhere if Indiana governor Mike Pence signs an anti-gay bill that would allow private business owners to turn away people who are lesbian or gay on the grounds of them practicing their religion.

The bill was passed this week by the Indiana House and Senate, and Pence is a big deciding factor for SB 101 to become law. What’s his stance on it? Well, he’s looking forward to signing it.

“The legislation is about respecting and reassuring Hoosiers [Indiana residents] that their religious freedoms are intact,” Pence said in a statement. He “look[s] forward to signing the bill when it reaches my desk.”

That, however, isn’t okay with Gen Con CEO Adrian Swartout, who sent a letter to the governor. It said that the convention brings in “a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds.”

Gen Con brings in thousands of attendees every year to the Indianapolis Convention Center, and helps businesses in the city with $50 million in spending. The convention includes panels, celebrities, games, cosplay and more.

This year, the event will be held from July 30th to August 2nd, with a contract to be in Indianapolis until 2020. If the bill does pass, that means Swartout wants to take the convention elsewhere once the contract is over. It “will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years.”

Other critics of the bill include the Indianapolis travel bureau.

“It doesn’t align with the brand that is Indianapolis, and for that matter, Indiana,” a rep told the Indystar. “Because it could impact our ability to win convention business down the road — and keep convention business — we raised our hand and said we do have a concern.”

Via NewNowNext

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