- Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany
- United States of America
On Thursday, March 26th, 2015, Indiana governor Mike Pence signed into law Senate Enrolled Act 101, more widely known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The act prevents the state of Indiana from passing any further laws that would "substantially burden" a person's religious practice. But due to the broad definition of "person" provided by the Act, RFRA potentially opens the door for widespread discrimination against persons of many minority groups, but especially members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and asexual+ (LGBTQA+) community. Such discrimination could include being refused service at a restaurant, store, or hotel, simply due to an individual being transgender or gay.
College athletes and college students are diverse in their ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs. Their parents and fans are diverse in the same ways. Each and every one of these individuals deserves to be respected and treated as the full, valuable member of society that they are.
Would an LGBTQA+ student athlete feel comfortable and welcome in an openly discriminatory environment? Would an LGBTQA+ parent, sibling, alumni, or fan feel comfortable coming to Indiana for a major sporting event in an openly discriminatory environment?
We, the undersign, call on the Big Ten athletic conference to relocate future conference football campionship games from Indianapolis, the capital city of a state with the unsportsmanlike conduct necessary to legalize discrimination against minorities including members of the LGBTQA+ community.
In this way, the Big Ten conference will send a message to the state of Indiana and to the rest of the world that it does not tolerate hate and discrimination, be it based on sexual or gender identity or any other factor.
The Move Big Ten Football Championship Out Of Indiana petition to Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany was written by Kelly Wallin and is in the category Law Reform at GoPetition.