I cannot know the motivations of the groups who supported, the legislators who passed, and the governor who recently signed into Indiana law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). And I cannot be certain of all of the consequences, predicted or threatened, that are likely to follow from legislation that has provoked such a stream of disappointment and anger. But, I can point to consequences that are an affront to everything that Hanover College stands for as an institution of higher education.
Whether intended in its origins or not the Religious Freedom Restoration Act can have the effect of legitimizing acts of discrimination against other individuals, fellow citizens and visitors alike. Regardless of whether such actions occur, the legislation aligns the power of the state with attitudes of prejudice, discrimination, intolerance, incivility and an acceptance of inequality that are injurious, even poisonous, to the interests of Indiana's educational, civic, commercial and religious institutions.
As President of Hanover College, I ask that Governor Pence honor the values of his alma mater. At Hanover College we celebrate inclusion, acceptance and openness to all persons. We do this not only because it represents the very best of what it means to be a Hoosier, but also because it is morally the right thing to do.
We also ask that Governor Pence work generously and meaningfully to ensure the freedoms and the dignity of all individuals, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.