Indiana Daily Student

Gov. Pence cancels visit, residents still protest

Liberty for all Hoosiers.

The large blue signs were held by all different kinds of people at Karst Farm Park as an act of defiance against the ?Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Gov. Mike Pence was invited to be the special guest speaker at AMVETS in Bloomington on Tuesday evening, for which members of the local community organized a rally to protest Pence’s recent signing of the legislation.

Although Pence canceled his trip on Monday and had Attorney General Greg Zoeller take his place, at least 200 people showed up to participate in the ?demonstration.

According to Chris Wilson, a local resident who organized the event during the weekend, a Facebook invite to the event had been sent to more than 5,000 people, and more than 800 people had expressed interest in participating in the demonstration.

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody verbally reprimanded Republican representatives in the Indiana General Assembly for not having reached a solution to all the backlash that there has been to the bill.

“They don’t like the feedback they’re getting from businesses and neither ?do I,” Zody said. “No one likes hearing that the NCAA has a concern, and no one likes hearing that the Disciples of Christ are moving somewhere else, and no one likes hearing that some of the employers that you all work for are concerned about this law.”

A common theme throughout the rally was Pence’s interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, in which Pence never gave an answer to the question about whether or not businesses in Indiana are now legally allowed to refuse service to gay ?individuals.

Doug Bauder, coordinator for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Student Support Services office, also delivered a speech about his experiences being both openly gay and a pastor at a church.

He encouraged those in attendance to continue protesting the legislation.

“I think the sentiment today is not about redefining the law but repealing it,” Bauder said. “I hope people will continue to pay attention to what’s happening and keep the pressure on.”

One of the people who helped organize the event, Frankie Presslaff, was one of the first to deliver a speech at the demonstration Tuesday.

Indiana was one of the first places where gay couples were legally allowed to adopt children, after which he and his partner adopted eight children, he said.

“One of the only places that we felt safe was ?Indiana,” he said before expressing his concern about the RFRA.

“What we need to do is stay active, we need to keep the spirit rolling,” Presslaff said. “We need to stay involved. We need to let the governor know, the politicians know, that this isn’t going to happen in our backyard. And the only way to do that is be vocal and not be afraid to speak out and not stop now.”

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