Hundreds rally at Indiana state capitol in opposition to anti‑LGBT religious freedom law

Thousands of opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, gathered on the lawn of the Indiana State House to rally against that legislation Saturday, March 28, 2015. Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill Thursday prohibiting state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. Doug McSchooler, AP

Thousands of opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, gathered on the lawn of the Indiana State House to rally against that legislation Saturday, March 28, 2015. Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill Thursday prohibiting state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. Doug McSchooler, AP

Hundreds of opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, gathered on the lawn of the Indiana State House to rally against that legislation Saturday, March 28, 2015.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday, March 28, 2015, for a rally against legislation signed Thursday by Gov. Mike Pence that opponents say could sanction discrimination against gay people.Rick Callahan, AP

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday, March 28, 2015, for a rally against legislation signed Thursday by Gov. Mike Pence that opponents say could sanction discrimination against gay people.

INDIANAPOLIS — Hundreds of people, some carrying signs reading “no hate in our state,” gathered Saturday outside the Indiana Statehouse for a boisterous rally against a new state law that opponents say could sanction discrimination against gay people.

Since Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law Thursday, Indiana has been widely criticized by businesses and organizations around the nation, as well as on social media with the hashtag #boycottindiana.

Local officials and business groups around the state hope to stem the fallout, although consumer review service Angie’s List said Saturday that it is suspending a planned expansion in Indianapolis because of the new law.

The law’s supporters contend discrimination claims are overblown and insist it will keep the government from compelling people to provide services they find objectionable on religious grounds. They also maintain that courts haven’t allowed discrimination under similar laws covering the federal government and 19 other states.

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But state Rep. Ed DeLaney, an Indianapolis Democrat, said Indiana’s law goes further than those laws and opens the door to discrimination.

“This law does not openly allow discrimination, no, but what it does is create a road map, a path to discrimination,” he told the crowd, which stretched across the south steps and lawn of the Statehouse.

“Indiana’s version of this law is not the same as that in other states. It adds all kinds of new stuff and it moves us further down the road to discrimination,” said DeLaney.

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