RFRA — April 6, 2015 at 8:56 am

Lansing and East Lansing mayors invite groups boycotting Indiana to reschedule events in their cities


Now that Indiana legislators have made it clear that they are not welcoming to the LGBTQ community, businesses and organizations across the country are choosing to boycott the Hoosier state and are relocating their conventions, meetings, and other events to places that are more welcoming. Although Michigan legislators seem hellbent on proving they are just as homophobic as Indiana, they have, so far, not passed a law as offensive as Indiana’s Religous Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett have a message to groups who are cancelling their events in Indiana: move them a little bit to the north to Lansing and East Lansing, cities which are welcoming and open for business to everyone, not just straight people. Last week, they posted an open letter to any group looking for an alternate venue:

April 2, 2015

An Open Letter to Conventions and Businesses Boycotting Indiana,

We applaud the numerous companies and organizations that have publicly expressed their strong opposition to Indiana’s recently adopted law that licenses discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, among others. We also respect those who have chosen to demonstrate their opposition to this discriminatory legislation by canceling conferences and conventions in Indiana until Governor Pence and the General Assembly act to undo the damage that they have done with this wrongheaded, overly broad bill. In support of these efforts, we wish to extend a personal invitation to the organizers of these gatherings to consider relocating their events to the metro Lansing region.

Our region has a proud history of promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity. The City of East Lansing was the first in the United States to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in March of 1972. Today, East Lansing, Lansing, Meridian Township, Delta Township, and Delhi Township — a metro region of over 260,000 people — each have adopted comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinances banning discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on both sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. We strive daily to make our communities welcoming to everyone who wishes to live, work, raise a family, start a business, or visit.

Additionally, our region boasts over 4,500 hotel rooms and several excellent conference facilities, including a 120,000 square foot convention center in downtown Lansing, all centrally located in the heart of the Midwest. If our region’s facilities can accommodate your needs, we would be proud to work with you and to welcome your event to the metro Lansing region.

Nathan Triplett
City of East Lansing

Virg Bernero
City of Lansing

Good on them for their progressive, modern views. Let’s hope Michigan Republicans don’t screw it up.

[CC image credit: Mark Moz | Flicker]