As backlash grows over Indiana's newly passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the state's governor is even reassuring the business community with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, several high-profile national companies are coming out against the legislation.
Companies headquartered outside of Indiana — such as Apple, Levi Strauss and Gap — are releasing statements to clarify that they don't discriminate despite doing business in the state. And companies such as Yelp are making clear they'd never expand to any state that adopted Indiana's discriminatory law.
Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman authored an open letter to Gov. Mike Pence and the lawmakers who voted for the bill, warning that "Yelp will make every effort to expand its corporate presence only in states that do not have these laws allowing for discrimination on the books."
An increasing number of businesses or professional groups based in Indiana are also speaking out each day against the measure, which would allow people and businesses to discriminate against LGBT people — or anyone else who allegedly offends another person's sincerely held religious belief.
Indiana lawmakers say they're being contacted continuously by businesses in the state, but not all of the companies have said much publicly. Here's a roundup of which companies are standing up.
Here's why the companies and organizations listed below oppose Indiana's RFRA:
The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce called the law "entirely unnecessary" in testimony given during legislative debate. The bill's passage "threatens to undo years of progress we have made in positioning Indianapolis as a welcoming community," said Chamber leaders before the bill became law.
Eli Lilly, which employs more 11,000 people and is headquartered in Indianapolis, also issued a statement condemning the law, reports the NBC affiliate in Fort Wayne. The local outlet identified the company as "largest publicly traded company in the state" and reported that it called the legislation "discriminatory" and "bad for Indiana and for business. We are concerned that divisive actions like this divert the state's attention away from pressing issues like education and economic development.The outcome on this particular piece of legislation has been disappointing."
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is headquartered in Indiana and expressed concern about the fate of its LGBT athletes and employees during this week's Final Four men's basketball tournament, taking place in Indianapolis. "The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events," said NCAA president Mark Emmert last week in a statement. "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, the California-based tech company that owns an Indianapolis-based software company formerly called ExactTarget, has been one of the most vocal critics of the law. The CEO of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Division authored an open letter to Indiana lawmakers urging them to reject the bill earlier this month. After Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law, Mike Benioff, CEO of the company as a whole, said his company has no choice but to "dramatically reduce" its investment in Indiana. In a series of tweets, Benioff, a 50-year-old man married to a woman, announced the company is canceling all programs that required employees or customers to travel to Indiana and encouraged other tech companies to follow suit.
Angie's List, the popular online service for reviewing businesses — which is headquartered in Indianapolis — said it is "hugely disappointed" that the bill passed and has cancelled a scheduled expansion in the state. That $40-million expansion was expected to create at least 1,000 jobs in Indiana, according to LGBT blog The New Civil Rights Movement. The company's statement noted it "will begin reviewing alternatives for the expansion of its headquarters immediately."
Subaru of America, Inc. After initially saying the company didn't comment on local or national legislation, the famously LGBT-friendly automaker issued a statement Monday night saying it does not agree with Indiana's new law. "While we recognize that the voters in each state elect their own legislature to decide that state's laws, we at Subaru do not agree with any legislation that allows for discrimination, or any behavior or act that promotes any form of discrimination," said Michael McHale, director of corporate communications for Subaru of America, Inc. "Furthermore, we do not allow discrimination in our own operations, including our operations in the state of Indiana. We will certainly continue to take the issue of non-discrimination into consideration as part of our decision-making processes."
Dow AgroSciences, Anthem, Inc., Emmis Communications Corporation, Cummins Inc., Indiana University, Angie's List, Eli Lilly, and Salesforce all cosigned a letter published Monday night and addressed to Gov. Pence and Senate President Pro Tempore David Long demanding that the law be amended, and saying the companies were "deeply concerned about the impact [RFRA] is having on our employees and on the reputation of our state." "All of our companies seek to promote fair, diverse and inclusive workplaces," the letter reads. "Our employees must not feel unwelcome in the place where they work and live. … As leaders in the Indiana business community, we call on you to take immediate action to ensure that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act will not sanction or encourage discrimination against any residents or visitors to our state by anyone," stated the letter. "By immediately enacting new legislation that makes it clear that neither the Religious Freedom Restoration Act nor any other Indiana law can be used to justify discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender identity, our state’s elected leaders can provide the reassurance to the people of our state, our nation and the world that is needed at this critical moment."
Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever owner Herb Simon issued a statement assuring fans and employees they won't face antigay discrimination. “The Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever and Bankers Life Fieldhouse have the strongest possible commitment to inclusion and non-discrimination on any basis," he said. "Everyone is always welcome at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. That has always been the policy from the very beginning of the Simon family’s involvement and it always will be.”
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay took to Twitter to distance his NFL team from the Indiana legislation. "The Colts have always embraced inclusiveness, tolerance, and a diverse fan base. We welcome ALL fans to Colts Nation. ONE FAMILY!"
NASCAR, the auto racing syndicate based in Daytona Beach, Fla., which hosts the world-famous Indy 500 in Indianapolis each year, said in a statement that it was "disappointed" in Indiana's new law, but stopped short of threatening to relocate the annual race.
"NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana," said senior vice president and chief communications officer Brett Jewkes on Wednesday. "We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race."
THE SILENT COMPANIES
While some companies have been outspoken about the new law, others have stayed silent amid the growing national discussion about Indiana's RFRA. In fact, most Indiana-based companies and others with operations in the state haven't taken a stand one way or another.
Here are some of the largest companies based in Indiana (or doing major business there) that have yet to comment on the new law:
- Sun-King Brewing, maker of Wee Mac Scottish Ale, a Scottish brown ale, Osiris Pale Ale, a pale ale, and Sunlight Cream Ale. (estimated annual revenue: $5 million)
- Toyota, which maintains an assembly plant in the state (estimated annual revenue: $3.5 trillion)
- Highpoint Global, a call-center firm that grew from seven employees to 200 over the last four years (estimated annual revenue: $95.8 million)
- Meister Cook, a Fort Wayne firm that produces food-service equipment (estimated annual revenue: $7.7 million)
- Mainstreet, which develops assisted-living facilities (estimated annual revenue: $106.3 million)
- Project Management Academy, a business solutions and training firm in West Lafayette (estimated annual revenue: $8.1 million)
- LGS Industries, engaged in cargo vehicle construction and headquartered in Middlebury (estimated annual revenue: $50.9 million)
- Onsite Occupational Health & Safety, which manages medical services in challenging environments around the world (estimated annual revenue: $29.1 million)
- enVista, a software firm (estimated annual revenue: $52.5 million)
- Elwood Staffing: Temp labor firm with nearly 1,000 employees. Estimated revenue: $762.9 million.
- Thompson Thrift Construction, a developer of large residential and business properties (estimated annual revenue: $146 million)
- HMS Global Maritime, which provides marine services for government and corporate clients (estimated annual revenue: $98.3 million)
- Peoplelink, a staffing services company (estimated annual revenue: $227.4 million)
- Defender Direct, installer of security and satellite services for ADT and Dish Network (estimated annual revenue: $424.5 million)
- The Cellular Connection, Verizon Wireless retailer with about 1,500 employees, headquartered in Marion (estimated annual revenue: $671.9 million)