Group of Indie Record Labels Based in Indiana Calls For Repeal of Religious Freedom Law
The negative reactions to the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (IRFRA), which many view as discriminatory against gay people, keep pouring in: Secretly Group, a collection of "independent record labels and music businesses based in Indiana" that includes Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, Asthmatic Kitty Records and other entities, is calling for the repeal of the IRFRA, which was signed into law on March 26 by Indiana governor Mike Pence.
"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," Secretly Group wrote in a press release, which can be read in full at musicforindiana.org. "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," the statement continues. "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."
Secretly Group also makes an appeal to musicians who have called off upcoming performances in Indiana — most notably, Wilco canceled a May 7 performance in Indianapolis, writing in a Facebook post, "Hope to get back to the Hoosier State someday soon, when this odious measure is repealed."
"To musicians with events scheduled in Indiana — please follow through and perform," Secretly Group explains. "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."
The reaction to the IRFRA is similar to the Sound Strike boycott of 2010, in which a group of musicians that included Kanye West, Rage Against the Machine and Sonic Youth refused to perform in Arizona in response to a law that supposedly encouraged racial profiling.
"You know me. I don't have any problem with musicians taking a stand politically," former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic wrote in a 2010 column. "But shouldn't musicians continue to play Arizona, if only for the people in that state who oppose the law? Are all Arizonans being lumped together as citizens of that perceived bad state? Instead of more divisions, let's look toward solutions, or at least try to find some common ground."