Indianapolis Mayor Says Religious-Freedom Flap Will Harm City

Indianapolis Mayor: We Saw Religious Law Backlash Coming

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said it will take years for his city to overcome the damage from the state’s religious-freedom bill, which some corporate executives said would sanction discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Ballard, 60, a second-term Republican mayor of Indiana’s largest city, said legislators underestimated the potential backlash from passing the bill. Indianapolis, which is hosting the NCAA Final Four men’s basketball championship game Monday night, will feel the brunt of it as it lobbies for future events, he said.

“Will we take a hit on this? Absolutely,” Ballard said Monday during an interview on Bloomberg Television. “It’ll take years of rebranding to make sure people understand, once again, who Indianapolis is.”

Governor Mike Pence and state lawmakers responded to the furor last week, amending the law to say it doesn’t allow an organization or business to discriminate on several factors, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

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