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Church says it will ‘reconsider’ Indianapolis convention if governor signs anti-LGBT bill

Church says it will ‘reconsider’ Indianapolis convention if governor signs anti-LGBT bill

INDIANAPOLIS — Organizers of large church gathering say they’re considering moving their event from Indianapolis over a “religious freedom” bill that critics say would legalize discrimination against LGBT people.

Leaders of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) wrote Wednesday to Gov. Mike Pence urging him to veto the proposal prohibiting laws that “substantially burden” the ability of people to follow their religious beliefs.

Church leaders say they are reconsidering plans to hold their 6,000-person General Assembly in Indianapolis in 2017 because of concerns that some members might face legally sanctioned bias.

“Our perspective is that hate and bigotry wrapped in religious freedom is still hate and bigotry,” Todd Adams, the associate general minister and vice president of the Indianapolis-based denomination, told The Indianapolis Star. Adams said the Disciples of Christ would instead seek a host city that is “hospitable and welcome to all of our attendees.”

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The 2017 convention has an economic impact to the city of about $6 million.

The Gen Con gamers convention’s CEO said similar concerns could affect decisions whether to continue holding its annual 56,000-person event in Indianapolis.

Update: Pence is expected to sign the bill on Thursday, March 26.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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