Five living Indianapolis mayors express concern over Religious Freedom Restoration Act

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(March 31, 2015) – The four former Indianapolis Mayors (Richard Lugar, William H. Hudnut III, Stephen Goldsmith, and Bart Peterson) and current Mayor Ballard sent this letter to our partners at the Indianapolis Star in order to openly express their concern over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

To the Editor of the Indianapolis Star:

We, the five living mayors of Indianapolis, are distressed and very concerned by the fallout from the enactment of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The local, national, and international response threatens to undo many of the efforts we have made, going back to 1967, to build an inclusive, caring, and hospitable city.

Indianapolis is a city with a first-class reputation as a great place to live, as an extraordinary host for major events and major league sports teams, and as a winner in the competition to attract new economic development opportunities. Ours is a city that cares about the common good and promotes respect for all citizens, and a city that has a vibrant downtown with successful venues for all kinds of sporting, religious, entertainment, and educational events and conventions. Our state’s capital city is known for a spirit of partnership and determination to display an open hand to peoples of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs.

On the cornerstone of the old City Hall downtown is an inscription from the Bible that says we are citizens of “no mean city.” Which is to say, we are citizens of an exceptional city – one that values fairness, civility, and equal opportunity—not one that is seen as mean-spirited and accepting of discriminatory practices.

We ask that national associations and corporations that do business, or would do business, in our city recognize that Indianapolis has a history of ordinances and Executive Orders protecting tolerance and preventing discrimination whether in terms of prayer, employment, provision of goods and services, or public accommodation, and explicitly extending to sexual orientation and gender identity.

We call upon the State Legislature to amend this bill, well-intentioned by its sponsors but damaging to the city and state in its unintended consequences, and clarify that the existing laws and wishes of our community will be fulfilled.

Sincerely,

Richard Lugar

Mayor, 1968-1976

 

William H. Hudnut III

Mayor, 1976-1992

 

Stephen Goldsmith

Mayor, 1992-2000

 

Bart Peterson

Mayor, 2000-2008

 

Greg Ballard

Mayor, 2008-Present