Today, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law on Thursday a measure that allows businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers in the name of “religious freedom.”
GenCon, the largest tabletop-game convention in North America by both attendance and number of events, features traditional pen-and-paper, board, and card games, including role-playing games, miniatures wargames, live action role-playing games, collectible card games, and strategy games. GenCon also features computer games. Attendees engage in a variety of tournament and interactive game sessions. In 2014, Gen Con had over 56,600 unique attendees, making it one of the largest conventions in North America.
Even now, GenCon and several businesses in Indiana are considering their response and next steps since Indiana’s Governor signed this bill into law. Marc Benioff, CEO of tech giant Salesforce, has stated publicly that they “will be forced to dramatically reduce [their] investment in Indiana based on [their] employees’ and customers’ outrage over the Indiana religious freedom bill.”
As a similar measure makes its way through the Georgia legislature, I hope that DragonCon will follow GenCon’s lead in re-evaluating their presence in Georgia should this bill become law. DragonCon is an organization similar to GenCon, who prides itself on the diversity of all persons in attendance and would be irreparably damaged by any law that is tantamount to legalized discrimination. I hope that all businesses and organizations in states passing such legislation will follow Salesforce’s and Gen Con’s lead in re-evaluating their investment and presence on a case by case basis.