FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Mayor Tom Henry has issued another statement about the current status of the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Mayor Henry said the controversy was impeding progress for the city and the region. Henry did not express support for clarification of the bill or repeal, but rather stated that he hopes the legislatures comes to a decision quickly.
I am deeply concerned about the perception of intolerance the nation now has of Hoosiers and our state due to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Now is not the time to jeopardize the positive momentum Fort Wayne is experiencing in economic development and quality of life. Fort Wayne’s local ordinance already makes it unlawful to deny goods or services to anyone based on race, sex, color, religion, disability, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, age, or sexual orientation. I know Fort Wayne residents and businesses do not stand for discrimination and welcome all to live, work, play and visit here.
This ongoing controversy is impeding progress to move our city and region forward. I call on Gov. Pence, Sen. Long, Speaker Bosma and the members of the General Assembly to reach a swift but decisive resolution to this mess so we can continue to invest in the future of our community without distraction.
When asked why his previous statement didn’t have the strong anti-discrimination language the more recent one did, the mayor’s office replied with the following:
Mayor Henry is convinced that RFRA continues to move forward with no clear resolution and continues to damage Indiana’s reputation for Hoosier hospitality. Until this morning, we were hopeful that statehouse leadership would make a definitive public statement about their intentions and plans for this statute. Mayor Henry decided it was appropriate in light of present facts to make a stronger statement today.
On Tuesday, Governor Mike Pence said he wanted to see legislation on his desk by the end of the week that would clarify the RFRA. Pence said he wanted to make clear that the RFRA did not give businesses the right to deny services to anyone.