John Mellencamp stands firm against Indiana’s divisive Religious Freedom Restoration Act in a just-published op-ed in the Indianapolis Star — but he stops short of canceling the upcoming shows in his home state.
“I am not questioning the sincerity of those who believe they have acted in the interests of religious freedom, but I am resolutely stating my opposition to this misnamed and ill-conceived law,” he writes. “It is discriminatory, hurtful, and a stain on Indiana’s national reputation.”
Wilco Cancels Indiana Show Due to Religious Freedom Restoration Act
While Indiana Gov. Mike Pence argues that the law is only intended to protect business owners’ religious freedoms, critics say it legalizes discrimination based on sexual and gender identity.
Mellencamp’s career has been closely linked to his upbringing in Indiana, with some of his biggest songs telling stories about growing up in the Midwest and small-town life. While he vehemently opposes the controversial new law, he doesn’t think boycotting the state and canceling his upcoming shows is the way to protest.
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“I have thought seriously about canceling my upcoming shows, not wanting the resulting tax revenues from ticket sales, concessions and the like to help fill the same government coffers that would enforce this terrible law,” he writes. “But then I realized that I would be letting our government divide us again, keeping me apart from my most important audience: My Indiana fans who have been there for me from the very beginning. Our evenings together will be about music, and hopefully this situation will be made right by the time I see you in May.”
Mellencamp isn’t the first musician to speak out about the law: Wilco canceled an upcoming Indianapolis show because of the law, and Miley Cyrus hit social media to blast the “unevolved and unjust” act. Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff and Indiana indie labels, meanwhile, backed up Mellencamp’s stance that canceling shows isn’t the way to go.