In the aftermath of the passage of Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, many celebrities, politicians and CEOs denounced the law that critics viewed as discriminatory toward the LGBT community. While there was lots of talk about an economic boycott of Indiana, Wilco were among the few to actually walk the walk, immediately canceling a May 7th gig at Indianapolis’ Murat Theatre to protest the bill. However, now that the RFRA has been amended to better protect the rights of gays and lesbians, Jeff Tweedy and company announced they will play the theatre as scheduled.
“We consider the changes to Indiana’s RFRA a good first step toward creating the sort of welcoming environment we encourage everywhere, so we’re reinstating our May 7 show at The Murat, which we canceled earlier this week,” the band wrote on Facebook. “To quote an Indiana University statement from yesterday, ‘religious liberty and equal protection under the law are both cornerstones of our democracy and they should not be in conflict with each other.’ Well said, IU.”
After the RFRA passed, Wilco admitted that the bill “[felt] like thinly disguised legal discrimination” and that they would only perform in Indiana after the “odious measure” was repealed. The state’s Governor Mike Pence and Republican-dominated Senate were adamant about not repealing the RFRA, but after nationwide criticism of the new law, Republicans passed an addition to the bill late Thursday that would simultaneously protect both religious and LGBT freedoms equally.
The Indianapolis Star previously penned an op-ed demanding that lawmakers amend the RFRA, and now that it has been “fixed,” experts tell the newspaper that the bill still doesn’t entirely protect the LGBT community from discrimination. With the war in the Hoosier State likely to continue, Wilco have pledged that some proceeds from their Indianapolis show will benefit organizations “fighting to build on the progress we hope this change makes in Indiana and beyond.” “We’ve been putting on shows with our neighbors in Indiana for more than 20 years and are happy to continue that at the Murat in May,” Wilco wrote.