All attendees warmly welcome in Indy

Diversity-Inclusion-LandingWe recently posted our concerns that the state of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) could negatively impact our 2017 convention attendees in Indianapolis. We need a diverse profession to serve the diverse needs of society, and it’s important to AVMA that all attendees feel welcome at all of our conventions. We appreciate the time all of you took to provide your thoughts and suggestions.

The AVMA Board of Directors met Thursday through Saturday, April 9-11, and one of the discussion topics was the Indianapolis Convention. As promised, we’re following up to let you know the outcome.

Our board discussed the concerns that had been expressed, and the changes made by the Indiana state legislature to address the concerns. The Board received input from the Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association (LGVMA) regarding their view on the legislative fix. The AVMA Convention Division staff have spoken with representatives of the Indiana Convention Center, who expressed their continued commitment to welcome all attendees with open arms. The Board reviewed the declaration of non-discrimination signed by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and the statement from the Indy Chamber, assuring continued commitment to non-discriminatory practices.

Based on all of this input and Indianapolis’ clear desire and commitment to protect against discrimination and welcome all with their famous “Hoosier Hospitality,” we’ve decided to keep the 2017 annual convention in Indianapolis as scheduled. Everyone is welcome, and we hope that you’ll join us there.

17 thoughts on “All attendees warmly welcome in Indy

  1. As Associate Director for International and Diversity Initiatives at the AVMA, I would like to unequivocally state that the AVMA is committed to ensuring all are welcome and treated equitably during our 2017 Annual Convention, which will take place July 21-25, 2017 in Indianapolis. It is unfortunate that a recent VPN article led its story about AVMA’s commitment to ensuring all are welcome in Indianapolis in 2017 with a headline implying that the Association is in agreement with Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

    As indicated in this and a previous blog post, AVMA leadership and staff were concerned when we learned that Governor Pence signed into law the Indiana RFRA earlier this year. Our concern centered on negative impacts this law might have on 2017 Convention attendees. We reached out to the Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association (LGVMA) for input from a group of colleagues most likely to be directly affected by this new law. The AVMA CEO spoke with Governor Pence and Indianapolis Mayor Ballard. Additionally, the Director of the AVMA Convention and Meeting Planning Division spoke with the Indiana Convention Center to let them know of our concerns and our deep commitment to ensuring that all AVMA Convention attendees would be treated equitably while in Indianapolis in 2017. Our comments, added to those of many other groups within and outside of Indiana, led to clarifying legislation being enacted by the Indiana legislature shortly thereafter. On learning of this subsequent action, the AVMA again reached out to the LGVMA, and through the LGVMA, received input from the Human Rights Campaign. Further discussions within the AVMA BOD led us to recognize that in Indiana, as in a majority of U.S. states, there are no explicit state laws protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination—passage of the Indiana RFRA did not impact this at all. However, the City of Indianapolis and Marion County have strong local laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations such as restaurants and theaters. The clarifying legislation that was enacted after Governor Pence signed the Indiana RFRA and then listened the concerns expressed by the AVMA and many others will ensure that these local laws continue to be fully enforceable. Moreover, the AVMA will continue to work to ensure that all attendees are treated with dignity and respect at the 2017 AVMA Annual Convention in Indianapolis—and at all of our Conventions and other meetings that occur throughout the United States.

    I would be happy to discuss this issue further offline. Please feel free to contact me via email at

  2. I am really saddened and appalled that the AVMA has lost this opportunity to stand up for the diversity it says it wants and cares for. No, you do not get it. Regardless of what the convention center says, this is a state that has voted discrimination into law. To give them one penny of our money is disgusting. I will not be attending. I would let my membership lapse if I weren’t tied into the need for continuing my disability and liability and long held life insurance policies. Shame on you.

  3. I am appalled that you would hold a convention in Indiana. Obviously, you are completely out of touch with most of your members. There are many companies that have pulled out of holding conventions in states that promote discrimination. By deciding to still hold the convention there, you are implicitly supporting them. I have been an AVMA member since 1971 & am strongly considering canceling my membership.

  4. Ridiculous that the AVMA does not stand up for anything. I, for one, will not be attending any conference held in Indiana.

  5. I agree with the previous comments.
    I will look for meetings in less bigoted states.
    I hope the AVMA will do the same in the future.

  6. I would never knowingly travel to a conference in a state where discrimination has been signed into law without thought to the diverse population of people AND religions that used to make our country great. It doesn’t matter how toned down the words are, the point has been made that Hoosiers will not tolerate difference. I will spend my money at a conference where the attendees are welcome not just for the injection of cash into the local economy but because we are vets who make a difference to pets and their owners’ lives every single day no matter what their sexual orientation, religion, color, or sex or ours. Poor decision when this organization had a chance to make a stand and a difference. It must, as usual, all boil down to the money.

  7. Am I surprised? Nope. The AVMA hasn’t spoken for any of the members for years. I would think it would be hard to pay yourselves on the back when your heads are buried so deep in the sand. Brava, AVMA. Brava.


    Another vet who is happy he let his membership lapse

  8. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
    Edmund Burke
    Shame on you AVMA for not recognizing members of our profession could be discriminated against.
    Money talks.
    Having the meeting there is supporting their discriminatory law.

  9. AVMA is doing another disservice to members by accepting Indiana’s politics. What a useless organization!

  10. I completely agree with previous posters. I am, once again, happy I let my membership lapse. This is not an organization that represents me or my beliefs.

  11. Does the AVMA stand for anything? It’s 2015, get a backbone. If African Americans were to be in a “hostile” and non-welcoming environment, we (rightfully so) would have made a stand and chosen a new venue.
    AVMA does not represent me legislatively or philosophically. I will take my membership dues elsewhere.

  12. One of many reasons I let my membership lapse this year. The AVMA needs to truly demondstrate its support of all of its constituents. This is not how it’s done.

  13. Disgusting. The OWMIS (Old White Men In Suites) at the AVMA who still don’t listen to their constituents, spoke with the OWMIS at the city of Indianapolis City Hall and/or Convention center and let them soothe their wrinkled suits with words of assurance. It would be a true shame if a city suffered an economic loss becuase their state elected officials and Governor passed a law for the rest of the state.

    Thank you AVMA OWMIS for making sure that a state law that legalizes discrimination won’t be a bar to the annual meeting.

  14. Thanks for not taking a stand. Standing by and watching discrimination codified in law is never the right thing to do. I thought history has taught us that. Then again, history has taught me not to expect anything from the AVMA.