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Longtime Ally Quits Indiana Tourism in Protest

Longtime Ally Quits Indiana Tourism in Protest

Longtime Ally Quits Indiana Tourism in Protest

'I can't invite people to visit us when some of them are less welcome than others. As long as the state government thinks discrimination should be legal, I can't work for the state government.'

Travel writer Erik Deckers, an LGBT ally from Indiana, loves his state, but resigned today as a travel writer for the Indiana Office of Tourism Development because of the passage of the state's discrimintory Religious Freedom Restoration Act (which also sparked George Takei to call for a boycott of the state). He posted a rather elegant good-bye on his blog. Read it in full below:

Why I Quit As a Travel Writer for Indiana

Today, I resigned as a travel writer for VisitIndiana.com, the website owned by the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD), because of the passage and signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

I've been a travel writer for the State of Indiana for six years, a role I have loved, as it has taken me around to different parts of the state I had never seen, and I've met some outstanding people.

But after Governor Pence signed SB101 into law today, I decided that I did not want to be a part of the Indiana state government any further, even as a small-time contractor.

I've loved being a part of VisitIndiana, and all the opportunities it's afforded me. I've made some wonderful friends, like Kendal Miller of Switzerland County Tourism, Laura Libs of Visit Evansville, and Patricia Rettig of Beef & Boards Theatre (the woman who made me appreciate musical theatre).

I've visited parts of the state I would have otherwise never seen, like the Heartland Historic Baseball Trail, the haunted Story Inn in Story, Indiana, and Wolf Park in Tippecanoe County.

And I remember the chaos of the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale in Fort Wayne, watching the Evansville Otters baseball team, and the very first trip I ever took, visiting Pokagon State Park and the toboggan run.

I can't say enough nice things about the IOTD, and getting to know their staff. I've become friends with several of them, and would lend my social media expertise on occasion.

They do excellent work in the face of continual budget cuts, and I'm proud of the (very) small part I've played there.

If you ever want to meet a government agency filled with entrepreneurial thinkers, this is it.

I love my state, and its people, history, and traditions. As corny as it is, I even liked last year's tourism slogan, "Honest to Goodness," because I believed in what it meant.

Even now, I believe Indiana is a good place, with good people who have good hearts.

But, at least today, I don't feel right in inviting people to visit us.

Not when some of them are less welcome. Not when there's a chance they'll be told they're not wanted. I can't ask them to come here, so I quit.

I'll still be a cheerleader for our state and tell everyone about the wonderful places and people in it. But I'll be doing it on this blog, on my own time. Not for a government who thinks so poorly of some of its citizens that it legalizes discrimination against them.

For those of you who read my work, supported my efforts, and made it possible for me to travel my home state and report on what I found, thank you very much. Thank you for six of the most interesting and most exciting years I've spent here.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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