Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday will sign into law a sweeping religious freedom bill that critics contend would allow business owners to deny service to gay and lesbian couples.
The Indianapolis Star reported the Republican governor will sign Senate Bill 101 into law during a private ceremony.
The Republican-controlled Indiana House of Representatives earlier this week approved the controversial measure by a 63-31 vote margin.
“The legislation, SB 101, is about respecting and reassuring Hoosiers that their religious freedoms are intact,” said Pence in a statement his office released on Monday after the vote. “I strongly support the legislation and applaud the members of the General Assembly for their work on this important issue. I look forward to signing the bill when it reaches my desk.”
Freedom Indiana, a group that campaigned against SB 101, along with Lambda Legal and the National LGBTQ Task Force are among the organizations that have urged Pence not to sign the measure into law.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, who is a Republican, on Wednesday said in a statement obtained by the Indianapolis Star that SB 101 sends the “wrong signal” for his city and Indiana as a whole. Gen Con, which is the world’s largest gaming convention, has threatened to pull its annual gathering out Indianapolis if Pence signs the measure into law.
The men’s finals of the NCAA Tournament will take place at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium on April 4-6. The annual National Football League Scouting Combine will take place in the Indiana capital next February.
Cyd Zeigler, Jr., co-founder of Outsports.com, an LGBT sports website, on Wednesday wrote the NCAA, the NFL and other groups should not hold their sporting events in the Hoosier State if Pence signs SB 101 into law.