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.