Indiana Enacts ‘Religious Liberty’ Law; Could Legalize Discrimination Against Gay People, Opponents SayNDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence vigorously defended the state religious objections bill that he signed into law Thursday as businesses and organizations including the NCAA pressed concerns that it could open the door to legalizing discrimination against gay people. The state became the first to enact such a change this year among about a dozen where such proposals have been introduced. Arkansas' governor said Thursday he supported a similar bill that's advancing in that state's Legislature. Pence, a Republican mulling a possible 2016 presidential campaign, signed the bill privately in his office with at least a couple dozen supporters on hand. He later met with reporters and refuted arguments from opponents that law would threaten civil rights laws by saying that hasn't happened under the federal religious freedom law Congress passed in 1993 and similar laws in 19 other states. "There has been a lot of misunderstanding about this bill," Pence said. "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it." Those arguments didn't satisfy opponents who worry the law, which will take effect in July, presents Indiana as unwelcoming and could give legal cover to businesses that don't want to provide services to gays and lesbians. National gay-rights consider the Indiana bill among the most sweeping of similar state proposals introduced as conservatives brace for a possible U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. The Washington-based Human Rights Campaign said Indiana lawmakers "have sent a dangerous and discriminatory message." "They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people despite what the law says," said Sarah Warbelow, the group's legal director. The Indianapolis-based NCAA, which is holding its men's basketball Final Four in the city next weekend, said in a statement it was concerned about the legislation and was examining how it might affect future events and its workforce. "We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week's Men's Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill," NCAA President Mark Emmert said in the statement. "Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce." Soon after Pence signed the bill, Salesforce.com founder and CEO Marc Benioff announced on Twitter that he was canceling all programs that require its customers or employees "to travel to Indiana to face discrimination." The San Francisco-based company bought Indianapolis-based marketing software company ExactTarget for $2.5 billion in 2013 and has kept hundreds of employees in the city. A company spokeswoman declined to elaborate on Benioff's statement. Conservative groups backing the bill have said it merely seeks to prevent the government from compelling people to provide such things as catering or photography for same-sex weddings or other activities they find objectionable on religious grounds. Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter praised the new law, saying it would give abortion opponents legal recourse if they are pressured to support the procedure. The organization circulated an online petition to thank Pence for signing the bill. At least two groups — the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and gamers' convention organizer Gen Con — have said they would reconsider plans to events in Indianapolis because of the legislation. Pence pointed out that President Barack Obama voted in favor of a similar state law while he was an Illinois legislator. But when Pence was asked whether he would support matching Illinois by adding sexual orientation to the state's civil rights law, he responded: "That's not on my agenda. I won't be pursuing that."
When Is The Absolute Last Minute To Fill Out Your NCAA Tournament Bracket?Every March, 60 million Americans or more fill out NCAA brackets, predicting the winner of the men's basketball championship. A good percentage are doing it to be part of the pop culture phenomenon, not because they are sports fans, and this fact leads to mind-numbing confusion about the championship and the office pool.
Going Dancing: Breaking Down The First 5 Teams InThe Selection Sunday countdown has officially begun. Let's breakdown the mid-majors putting on their dancing shoes.
Stanford Men's Basketball Fate Depends On National ResultsThis is the dilemma when you don't win enough in January and February: You're left in March scoreboard watching, hoping other teams lose. That's where the Stanford men's basketball team finds itself today as it prepares for its final two regular-season games.
5 NCAA Storylines To Watch Heading Into MarchWhat to watch for in the lead up to the madness of the next couple weeks.
Auburn, UCLA And USC Win Big On National Signing DayNational Signing Day is arguably the most important day of the college football year.
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What’s Wrong With Duke?Like a home run hitter approaching a major milestone, the wins have come slower for Mike Krzyzewski as he nears 1,000 career victories.
Pac-12 Basketball Weekend Preview: Arizona Looks To Continue Conference DominationWhile it’s early in conference play, Arizona has shown why it was picked first in the preseason poll. The Wildcats are in action on Sunday, looking to remain unbeaten.
The 9 Ugliest University Of Oregon Football Uniforms In Recent MemoryNike has tweaked the team's look more than Dr. Frankenstein adjusted the neck bolt on his creature. While the new Championship Game look is cool, some other incarnations have been less flattering.
College Football Spotlight: A Time To Be Thankful For RivalriesWith Thanksgiving upon us, we should all take some time to think about what we are thankful for. There is plenty of drama to pay attention to this weekend, and that is something every college football fan can be thankful for.
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College Football Spotlight: Conference And Division Championship Races Come Down Final StretchCollege football’s regular season is coming down the final stretch, which means it is crunch time in the conference and division championship races. Not every team is playing for a spot in the College Football Playoff, but everybody seems to have some impact on the new postseason format.
Heisman Watch: Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon Ready For Heisman Showdown With AbdullahThis week, Melvin Gordon leads the Wisconsin running game against another Heisman candidate and his ground game, Nebraska and Ameer Abdullah. The running back showcase should double as this week’s Heisman Trophy Spotlight Game.
College Football Spotlight: No. 1 Mississippi State With Something To Prove At AlabamaAt Mississippi State, this week is an opportunity to prove to the college football world their bubble is not easy to pop. Mississippi State has won at LSU. They have handled defending SEC champion Auburn. They are ranked number one in the country, yet they still have something to prove.