- April 3, 2015
A lot has changed since Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) last week.
Shortly after Pence signed the RFRA on Thursday morning, Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, announced that the cloud computing company would dramatically decrease its investment in Indiana.
We are forced to dramatically reduce our investment in IN based on our employee's & customer's outrage over the Religious Freedom Bill.— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) March 26, 2015
By the end of the day on Thursday, Hillary Clinton, Max Levchin (cofounder of PayPal, CEO of Affirm and chairman of Yelp) and other LGBT advocates and allies, like Ashton Kutcher and George Takei, also spoke out against Indiana’s RFRA.
On Friday, the Arkansas senate passed H.B. 1228, a discriminatory bill similar to the RFRA law in Indiana. In response, Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted his opposition to the rise of anti-LGBT laws passing through state legislatures across the country.
Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana's new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar #HB1228.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 27, 2015
Later that day, CA Technologies’ CEO Michael Gregoire joined other technology companies and corporate leaders in voicing opposition to the recently passed RFRA in Indiana.
On Saturday, over concerns of Indiana’s new anti-LGBT law, Angie’s List announced it was stopping its campus expansion project in Indianapolis. The NBA, WNBA, NFL and NCAA, along with local universities, also voiced their concern for the state's new RFRA.
On Sunday morning, during an appearance on ABC's This Week, Pence added insult to injury when he repeatedly refused to answer simple questions about Indiana's laws and critical legal protections for LGBT Hoosiers.
Thanks to #Indiana Governor #MikePence, who last week signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (#RFRA) into law, Indiana business owners who object to same-sex couples for religious reasons will now have a legal right to deny them goods and services. On an appearance on ABC's This Week, Governor Pence repeatedly refused to answer simple questions about Indiana's laws and critical legal protections for #LGBT #Hoosiers. @ABCNews #SB101
Later that day, in a piece for the Washington Post, Cook called on his colleagues leading other major companies to join him opposing so-called “religious refusal” legislation in dozens of states. And they listened.
Throughout the week, more companies, including Gap, Levi's, Subaru, Nascar, Nike, Wal-Mart,Google, Coca-Cola and Marriott announced their opposition to discriminatory legislation. Acxiom—one of Arkansas’ Largest Employers—also denounced H.B. 1228
Major corporations, including American Airlines, Inc., Apple, Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Microsoft Corp., Orbitz Worldwide, Symantec Corporation and Wells Fargo & Company, also signed on to a statement against an onslaught of anti-LGBT legislation.
We’re disappointed to see state bills that enshrine discrimination. These bills are unjust and bad for business. We support #EqualityForAll.— Policy (@policy) March 30, 2015
On Tuesday, The Indianapolis Star led with a front-page editorial calling for Indiana Governor Mike Pence to not only repeal the discriminatory Religious Reformation Act, but to also pass a law for full LGBT non-discrimination protections.
Two Little Rock Nine members, Ernie Green and Carlotta Walls Lanier, also announced their opposition to H.B. 1228.
Throughout the week, HRC joined hundreds of people in Indiana and Arkansas in protest of the discriminatory efforts, aiming towards justice and holding the state legislatures accountable.
On Wednesday, Governor Asa Hutchinson asked the Arkansas Legislature to recall H.B. 1228. Later that day, tech industry leaders signed an unprecedented joint statement supporting the addition of non-discrimination protections for LGBT people to civil rights laws.
On Thursday, one week after Governor Pence signed Indiana’s original RFRA, Pence signed new legislation that would limit the scope and application of RFRA. On the same day, the Arkansas legislature passed and Governor Asa Hutchinson signed legislation that improves the disastrous H.B. 1228.
The legislation ultimately enacted in both Indiana and Arkansas still allows for discrimination. That the new laws are not as severe as originally proposed is little comfort to those who still can lose their jobs, be kicked out of their apartments, or be denied service in a restaurant just because of who they are. Indiana and Arkansas, like a majority of U.S. states, still have no state laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination.
HRC will continue to advocate for the addition of non-discrimination protections for LGBT people, both locally and federally, until all LGBT Americans are protected equally and fairly under the law.