After Gov. Mike Pence signed the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, an upsurge of people rallied against it as a thinly veiled means to legalize discrimination based on sexual identity in the state. Wilco (who canceled a concert in Indiana) to Miley Cyrus (who tweeted her support for that decision) has railed against IRFRA. Now a group of indie labels have written a press release signed by a number of labels and businesses to make clear their allegiance to the civil liberties of the LGBT community and calls on Gov. Pence and legislators to repeal the law. But they also argue a boycott isn’t the best way to achieve meaningful change.
Here is the text of their open letter:
We are a group of independent record labels and music businesses based in INDIANA. We are deeply disappointed with the recent passage of the INDIANA RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACT and the message that it sends to those both in and out of our state. At the very least, this is a poorly written and unnecessary piece of legislation. At the worst, it provides a path to legal discrimination.
We join the chorus of INDIANA residents and businesses calling on GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE and the INDIANA GENERAL ASSEMBLY to repeal the IRFRA. Additionally, we appeal to our state government leaders to enact legislation clearly protecting the civil liberties of LGBT individuals to assure that none of our employees or neighbors may be discriminated against due to sexual orientation or gender identity.
Some businesses and individuals have taken action to suspend or reduce participation in INDIANA’s economy. While this sort of action is well-intended to place pressure on government leaders to repeal or fix this law, we feel an isolationist approach can sometimes be misguided.
As music companies, we cherish the power which music and art can have in promoting social progress. We believe cultural events can be a great opportunity to put a glaring spotlight on injustice. We will continue to proudly call Indiana home, and we call on others in the arts community to address this issue constructively. To musicians with events scheduled in INDIANA — please follow through and perform. While canceling shows is one way to protest, a greater statement can be made by coming here and using your art to influence the policy debate that is occurring locally. You can insist that the venue you play publicly states that they will not discriminate under any circumstances. If the venue won’t do that, rebook your show with another venue that will. Your performance can be a rally. We need your support locally.
Other music businesses in INDIANA who wish to show their support are invited to join in signing: http://www.musicforindiana.org
Asthmatic Kitty Records
Bloomington Guitar & Amp
Dead Oceans (Secretly Group)
Fort William Artist Management
Indy CD & Vinyl
Jagjaguwar (Secretly Group)
Joyful Noise Recordings
Jurassic Pop Records
Magnetic South Recordings
Meitus Gelbert Rose LLP
SC Publishing (Secretly Group)
Secretly Canadian (Secretly Group)
Spirit of ’68 Promotions