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Gen Con Threatens to Leave Indiana Over Controversial “Religious Freedom” Bill

Indiana's new legislation "will have a direct negative impact on the state's economy."


I love when geeks use their powers for good! Gen Con, the longest-running gaming convention in the world, has called Indianapolis home for over a decade. Now, they are reconsidering continuing their relationship with the State of Indiana in light of the recent passage of State Bill 101, which allows Indiana business owners to deny same-sex couples service in the name of “religious freedom.”

Gen Con’s CEO and owner, Adrian Swartout, sent a letter to Indiana Governor Mike Pence, the full text of which can be read here. But here’s a choice excerpt:

Last year, Gen Con hosted more than 56,000 attendees from more than 40 different countries and all 50 states. Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds. We are happy to provide an environment that welcomes all, and the wide-ranging diversity of our attendees has become a key element to the success and growth of our convention.

Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state’s economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the State of Indiana in future years.

Dang, yo. Them’s fightin’ words. And they’re not without teeth. The Seattle-based Gen Con has signed a long-term agreement with Visit Indy to host their convention in Indiana through the year 2020. In their letter, they quote their annual contribution to the state economy at $50 million, meaning that if Indiana loses the con, they potentially lose $250 million in revenue. That, and they look like discriminatory asshats in the eyes of a lot of the country.

Thank you, Gen Con, for taking this step toward making positive changes happen.

(via Polygon)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.