Secretly Group And Other Indiana Music Businesses Issue Statement On Religious Freedom Restoration Act

As a lifelong indie-rock listener, when I think Indiana, I think of Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, and Dead Oceans, the triad of affiliated Bloomington-based record labels known as the Secretly Group. Unfortunately, recently the Hoosier State has been in the news for a more contentious reason: Indiana’s governor signed into law the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which many are interpreting as a legalized way to discriminate against the LGBTQ population. One prominent Midwest music institution weighed in on the law yesterday when Wilco canceled a scheduled appearance in Indianapolis. Now the Secretly Group and a number of other Indiana-based music businesses have issued a statement about IRFRA. Here’s the full text of the statement:

We are a group of independent record labels and music businesses based in Indiana. We are deeply disappointed with the recent passage of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the message that it sends to those both in and out of our state. At the very least, this is a poorly written and unnecessary piece of legislation. At the worst, it provides a path to legal discrimination.

We join the chorus of Indiana residents and businesses calling on Governor Mike Pence and the Indiana General Assembly to repeal the IRFRA. Additionally, we appeal to our state government leaders to enact legislation clearly protecting the civil liberties of LGBT individuals to assure that none of our employees or neighbors may be discriminated against due to sexual orientation or gender identity.

Some businesses and individuals have taken action to suspend or reduce participation in Indiana’s economy. While this sort of action is well-intended to place pressure on government leaders to repeal or fix this law, we feel an isolationist approach can sometimes be misguided. As music companies, we cherish the power which music and art can have in promoting social progress. We believe cultural events can be a great opportunity to put a glaring spotlight on injustice. We will continue to proudly call Indiana home, and we call on others in the arts community to address this issue constructively. To musicians with events scheduled in Indiana — please follow through and perform. While canceling shows is one way to protest, a greater statement can be made by coming here and using your art to influence the policy debate that is occurring locally. You can insist that the venue you play publicly states that they will not discriminate under any circumstances. If the venue won’t do that, rebook your show with another venue that will. Your performance can be a rally. We need your support locally.

We welcome other music businesses in Indiana to co-sign this letter with us:

Signed with respect,

Asthmatic Kitty Records
The Bishop
Bloomington Guitar & Amp
Cultural Cannibals
Dead Oceans (Secretly Group)
Flannelgraph Records
Fort William Artist Management
Indy CD & Vinyl
Jagjaguwar (Secretly Group)
Joyful Noise Recordings
Jurassic Pop Records
Landlocked Music
Luna Music
Magnetic South Recordings
Mahern Audio
Meitus Gelbert Rose LLP
MOKB Presents
Russian Recording
SC Distribution
SC Publishing (Secretly Group)
Secretly Canadian (Secretly Group)
Spirit of ’68 Promotions