INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – As the Religious Freedom bill is set to be debated in the Indiana House, some are questioning whether it protects religious beliefs or opens the door to discrimination.
Supporters of the bill say it doesn’t legalize discrimination, but those in the LGBT community aren’t buying it. Now, a new organization is looking to show people where they can shop and be themselves.
Many businesses on Mass Avenue in Indianapolis have little blue stickers in the window, saying, “This business serves everyone.” One of them is Crimson Tate.
“This is a place to come and be inspired to learn, to sew, to create cool things. That’s what we do,” said Heather Givans, the shop’s owner. She placed the sticker on her window last week.
“Crimson Tate, the business that I own, that I run, is open for anyone to come through these doors,” said Givans.
Other people on Mass Ave say the whole debate is unwarranted.
“I think its kind of ridiculous that people don’t want to accept business from people that are willing to give it,” said Dior Williams.
“If I’m going to pay my money, if I want to go somewhere, I should be free to go, eat, shop, and do things where ever I please,” said Jazmin Zinnerman.
Eighteen other states have similar laws. Indiana’s version passed the state senate last month.
“This bill acts as a shield and not a sword. It is a protector for those who want to practice religious freedom,” said Senator Scott Schneider, the bill’s sponsor.
The person behind the stickers is Josh Driver. In just the past four days, over 100 Indiana businesses have joined.
“We really just are answering the question: where should I be taking my money?” said Driver.
The organization is Open for Service. Driver says his hopes are to build a database of businesses that show they’re open to everyone.
“I would rather just be able to say, ‘Well we know that this business isn’t going to do this for you, here’s 10, 12, 15 businesses that are going to,’” said Driver.
The stickers cost $10 and the proceeds go to SCORE, an entrepreneurial organization that mentors up and coming businesses.