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NCAA supports amendment to Indiana's religious freedom law

NCAA supports amendment to Indiana's religious freedom law
NCAA President Mark Emmert, shown in 2011, said in a statement Thursday that the organization was pleased that Indiana was taking steps to change SB 101 to ensure individuals are not discriminated against. (David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

The NCAA has expressed its support for changes to a controversial Indiana state law that many charged could lead to discrimination against gays and lesbians.

"We are very pleased the Indiana Legislature is taking action to amend Senate Bill 101 so that it is clear individuals cannot be discriminated against," NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement on Thursday.

Proponents of SB 101 initially said it protected religious freedom by allowing individuals to act on their beliefs. Critics had contended it would allow businesses to cite their beliefs in denying service to gays and lesbians.

Under a proposed amendment, the law could not be used as a legal defense by those who deny goods and services to customers because of their sexual orientation or gender. The NCAA had expressed its concerns about SB 101 early on.

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There were calls for the association to relocate its Indianapolis headquarters and move the Final Four, which takes place in that city this weekend.

"NCAA core values call for an environment that is inclusive and nondiscriminatory for our student-athletes, membership, fans, staff and their families," Emmert said. "We look forward to the amended bill being passed quickly and signed into law expeditiously by the governor."

Follow David Wharton on Twitter @LATimesWharton

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