Stella Maxwell
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Indiana Newspaper Sends Big Message

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A striking front page for Tuesday's edition of the Indianapolis Star delivers an all-caps message to state lawmakers.

"FIX THIS NOW," reads the headline for a rare front-page editorial.

The newspaper argues the so-called "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," signed into law last week by Governor Mike Pence, "already has done enormous harm to our state and potentially our economic future."

"The consequences will only get worse if our state leaders delay in fixing the deep mess created," it warns, before calling on lawmakers to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's anti-discrimination laws. "Half steps will not be enough. Half steps will not undo the damage. Only bold action — action that sends an unmistakable message to the world that our state will not tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens — will be enough to reverse the damage.

"Gov. Mike Pence and the General Assembly need to enact a state law to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, education and public accommodations on the basis of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity."

Pence was asked directly on Sunday whether he'd sign such a law. "I will not push for that," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "That's not on my agenda, and that's not been an objective of the people of the state of Indiana."

For his part, Pence published his own op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, in which he assured the business community that the law isn't discriminatory. Instead of championing anti-discrimination legislation, Pence suggests the "Golden Rule" ensures LGBT people are protected.

“I abhor discrimination,” writes Pence. “I believe in the Golden Rule that you should ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore."

The Indianapolis Star editors couldn't have seen Pence's op-ed before publishing their own, but they mange to address its message anyway.

"We urge Gov. Pence and lawmakers to stop clinging to arguments about whether RFRA really does what critics fear; to stop clinging to ideology or personal preferences; to focus instead on fixing this," the newspaper wrote. "Governor, Indiana is in a state of crisis. It is worse than you seem to understand."

Read the complete editorial from the Indianapolis Star.

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