Pence’s law could cost Indiana billions
Indiana is experiencing a harsh blowback after its Governor, Mike Pence, above, this week signed into law an anti-gay ‘religious freedom’ Bill to ‘help protect churches, Christian businesses and individuals from those who want to punish them because of their Biblical beliefs’.
The moment he did so, big names in entertainment and commerce rallied to urge a boycott of the state, which, at the same time, had to enact emergency measures against an epidemic of HIV among drug users.
Pence insists the law is not discriminatory, but others strongly disagree.
According to the BBC in reports here and here, the National Collegiate Athletic Association said it was “especially concerned” about how the law would affect its employees and student athletes. Mark Emmert, NCAA President, said in a statement:
The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events. We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees.
We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill. Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.
Salesforce, a California company with ties to Indiana, cancelled all employee travel to the state and said it was considering decreasing its investment in Indiana, and the large gamer convention, GenCon, has threatened to hold its events elsewhere because of the law. If GenCon pulls out of Indiana, it could cost the state millions in lost income.
Corporate executives such as Jeremy Stoppelman of Yelp and Tim Cook of Apple have urged other states not to follow Indiana’s example.
Stoppelman wrote in an open letter:
These laws set a terrible precedent that will likely harm the broader economic health of the states where they have been adopted, the businesses currently operating in those states and, most importantly, the consumers who could be victimised under these law.
Cook, who recently came out as gay, took to Twitter yesterday to criticise the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, saying:
Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana’s new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar #HB1228.
Hillary Clinton, a prospective presidential candidate, wrote on Twitter on Thursday:
Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn’t discriminate against people because of who they love.
Gay Star Trek star George Takei, who has a large following on social media, also pushed for a boycott of the state.
Even Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, a Republican, said the law sends a “wrong signal” to visitors and could make the state seem unwelcoming.
The term #BoycottIndiana had been a top trending topic on Twitter. One Twitter user, Dan Savage, savaged Pence and Indiana, saying:
Shitty governor makes shitty state even shittier by signing shitty legislation.