A rally outside the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis drew a crowd of hundreds Saturday, as opponents of the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act claimed it legalized discrimination against LGBT people. Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law Thursday. It prohibits the state and local governments from enacting laws that “substantially burden” people, groups and businesses from practicing their religious beliefs.

Supporters of the law say it keeps the government from forcing people to provide services to which they object because of their religion. For example, the law allows business owners who reject homosexuality, based on religious beliefs, to deny services to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender customers. Some critics have compared the Indiana law to the Jim Crow laws that permitted racial segregation in the South.

 
The protesters chanted for Pence’s removal from office, and held signs that said “No hate in our state” and “I’m pretty sure God doesn’t hate anyone,” the Associated Press reported. The legislation is patterned after a federal act, and 16 other states have passed similar laws.
 
Several businesses and business leaders have taken stands against the law. For example, contractor-review website Angie’s List said it may back out of a deal to expand its Indiana headquarters. CEO Bill Oesterle told the Indianapolis Star that the company would pull out of a deal that included state tax credits.  And Apple CEO Tim Cook also has spoken out against the law, and urged Arkansas' Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto similar legislation.

 

Meanwhile, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced Saturday a decision to prohibit the use of city funds for travel to Indiana. Murray said that Indiana's new law was discriminatory and "has no place in our city," according to a joint report from the Associated Press and KING-TV.