Sean Burke, a Wisconsin fan, has started a petition on change.org to have the Big Ten Championship football game taken out of the state of Indiana.
The petition was sparked because of a “religious freedom” bill Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law Thursday.
Senate Bill 101 essentially would allow businesses to turn away gay and lesbian patrons on the basis of religious beliefs.
Burke’s petition, which had 3,900 signatures at the time of this posting, claims the state of Indiana is not living up to the ideals of the Big Ten Conference.
On March 26, 2015 Governor Pence of Indiana signed into law a bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against members of the LGBT community under the guise of "religious freedom". A law such as this runs contrary to the ideals of the Big Ten Conference and puts students, fans and staff at risk of open discrimination based solely on who they love. Such law sends the message that members of the LBGT community are second class citizens contrary to the many contributions members of the LGBT community have made in areas such as science, the arts, architecture, business and not to mention sports.
The State of Indiana, as a member of the Big Ten Conference, needs to be told that it must live up to the ideals of the conference and respect all persons regardless of sex, age, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
The Big Ten title game is scheduled to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium through 2021.
The Big Ten Conference released a statement Friday afternoon stating that its presidents and chancellors would review the "impact" of the bill during its next meeting.
The Big Ten Conference and its member institutions believe in promoting an inclusive environment in which athletic competition can operate free from discrimination. The conference is aware of the bill that was recently signed into law in the state of Indiana and will further review its impact at the next scheduled meetings of its administrators, presidents and chancellors.
NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement Thursday that his organization would examine "how it might affect future events as well as our workforce."
"The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events," Emmert's statement said. "We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees.
"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.
"Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce."
Indianapolis will host the Men’s Final Four next weekend and the Women’s Final Four next year.
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