INDIANAPOLIS – With less than a week before Election Day, it’s worth noting that Eric Holcomb has said numerous times that he believes Mike Pence “struck the right tone” with RFRA and LGBT rights for Indiana. In fact, Holcomb is “quite proud” of the law that brought a $250 million economic panic, cut $60 million and twelve conventions from Indianapolis’s tourism revenue, and put the state’s “Hoosier Hospitality” reputation in jeopardy.
The rest of the state, in contrast, isn’t proud of RFRA. With more than 59-percent of Hoosiers calling for equal protections for the LGBT community, Eric Holcomb continues to ignore the will of voters and the economic well-being for the state.
“Mike Pence and Eric Holcomb’s ideological agenda has wreaked havoc on Indiana’s economy, and Hoosiers are fed up with social issues embarrassing the state across the nation,” said Drew Anderson, communications director. “RFRA severely damaged Indiana’s economy and reputation, and yet Eric Holcomb ignores the repeated calls to fix Mike Pence’s mess and help make sure Indiana is truly a welcoming state once more. It’s time to protect all Hoosiers, and Eric Holcomb has proven he’s not willing to do it.”
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: HOLCOMB SUPPORTED MIKE PENCE’S RFRA
RFRA’s Economic Damage
Indiana experienced an estimated $256 million economic panic following RFRA. “Major businesses boycotting a new religious freedom law in Indiana could cost the state’s economy some $256.4 million and counting over the next six years, according to the Center for American Progress. The so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Republican Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law last week, is widely viewed by opponents as granting business owners a license to discriminate against the LGBT community.” [International Business Times, 4.1.15]
Official: RFRA cost Indy up to 12 conventions and $60M. “The furor surrounding last year’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act might have cost the city of Indianapolis as many as 12 conventions and up to $60 million in economic impact, the city’s nonprofit tourism arm confirmed Monday evening. Though they come with some caveats, the numbers from Visit Indy represent the most tangible effects yet of a controversy that city officials and business leaders long warned would cause real damage to Indianapolis’ reputation.” [IndyStar, 1.26.16]
Poll shows perception problem continues for Indy, nearly one year after RFRA. “According to a Visit Indy poll, conducted by Reach Market Planning & Walker Research, tourists think that think Indy still has a long way to go following the religious freedom fallout from 2015. […] When meeting decision makers were asked if Indy in fact does “Welcome All,” only 45 percent agreed. That number was even less, 43 percent for Chicago residents. The numbers were even lower when that same question applied to the state, with 28percent of meeting decision makers agreeing with the statement that “Indiana Welcomes All,” and 38percent of Chicago residents agreeing with the same statement. [Fox 59, 1.20.16]
Holcomb Supports RFRA
Holcomb Said That “The Governor Struck The Right Tone In His State Of The State Address” On Saying Any LGBT Measure Should Place A Premium On Shielding Religious Freedom. According to IndyStar, “While Holcomb is generally well-liked among the GOP’s different factions, it remains to be seen whether he will be able to help Pence restore his relationship with business and more socially moderate Republicans. They wanted lawmakers to pass a gay rights measure during this year’s legislative session, but that measure stalled, in part, because of the stance Pence took in his State of the State address. In the speech, Pence said he would want any measure to place a premium on shielding religious freedom. Holcomb said he agreed with Pence’s message. ‘I think the governor struck the right tone in his State of the State address,’ Holcomb said.” [IndyStar, 2/9/16]
Holcomb Openly Said He Backed The Governor’s Stance On The Civil Rights Protections For The LGBT Community.According to the Associated Press, “But both Pence and Ellspermann deny there is a rift between them, though differences between the two were highlighted in September when Ellspermann said she supported civil rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The party has been divided over the issue since the backlash against the religious objections law that the Republican-led Legislature passed last year before watering it down under heavy criticism from big business. Pence has said he favors religious freedoms over protections for anyone who has been declined service, fired from a job or denied housing over sexual orientation or gender identity. But Holcomb has openly said he backed the governor’s stance. […] He also brings wide rapport that would serve as a bridge for Pence to unite the business-oriented moderates and tea party-backed conservatives who have clashed over the LGBT debates.” [The Associated Press, 3/3/16]
Wants to Forget RFRA
Holcomb Said Pence Wanted “A Lot Of Opinions Around The Table,” And Said It Was Important Not To “Get Bogged Down In The Past” But To Look To The Future. In an interview for RTV6, Holcomb said, “I’m encouraged that he wants a lot of opinions around the table, and that’s who I am. I said at the outset of my previous campaign that I wanted to attract folks of different backgrounds and perspectives and minds. That’s healthy for discussion. So what I think I can bring to this is a long view, a context about where we are as a state, but not get bogged down in the past, be able to defend our actions that we’ve taken but where are we going and how are we going to get there. Yes I’ve had some experience in the Governor’s office, over former Governor Mitch Daniels’ two terms, and I expect to have the very same discussions. Everything’s on the table to discuss, it’s our responsibility to know every side of the argument, so to speak, and then lead.” [RTV6 Youtube Channel, 2/13/16]