Boycott Against Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law Grows Across U.S.

The bill, passed March 26, could allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people. Amid the national backlash, Gov. Mike Pence said the bill needs a “fix.”

Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty Images

Celebrities, companies and local and state governments have taken a stand against Indiana’s religious freedom law.

Critics of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act call the law discriminatory, allowing businesses to refuse service to LGBT people.

Some governments have banned the use of taxpayer money to fund city employees’ travel to Indiana while some celebrities have canceled upcoming appearances in the state.

Connecticut

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Governor Dannel Malloy banned state-funded travel to states that enacted religious freedom laws.

Connecticut has a long tradition of being at the forefront of protecting civil rights, as well as religious freedom; state law explicitly prohibits governmental entities from burdening the exercise of religion, while also protecting against discrimination, such as discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

Washington

David Ryder / Getty Images

Governor Jay Inslee imposed an administration-wide ban on travel to Indiana.

I find Indiana’s new law disturbing, particularly at a time when more and more states and people in America are embracing civil rights for everyone. Washington will join other states and cities in opposing this law and I will impose an administration-wide ban on state funded travel to Indiana….We in Washington stand for equality.

I applaud those companies and organizations that have spoken out against the law and said they would not locate or expand operations in Indiana. I want to invite all those organizations, and anyone interested in a state that promotes equality and opportunity, to come visit Washington. We are open for business, and open to all people.

New York

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement banning publicly funded travel to Indiana.

“New York State has been, and will continue to be, a leader in ensuring that all LGBT persons enjoy full and equal civil rights. With this action, we stand by our LBGT family members, friends and colleagues to ensure that their rights are respected.”

Indiana RFRA defenders say it “simply mirrors” federal RFRA. That is false & disingenuous. Read my full statement: https://t.co/3Me14wxg2T

— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer)

District of Columbia

We stand with the LGBT community.#SODA15

— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser)

Indianapolis

Indianapolis will not be defined by this. #IndyWelcomesAll

— Mayor Greg Ballard (@MayorBallard)

San Francisco

Michael Kovac / Getty Images

Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement that no taxpayer money will be used to fund city employees’ trips to Indiana.

We stand united as San Franciscans to condemn Indiana’s new discriminatory law, and will work together to protect the civil rights of all Americans including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

Effective immediately, I am directing City Departments under my authority to bar any publicly-funded City employee travel to the State of Indiana that is not absolutely essential to public health and safety. San Francisco taxpayers will not subsidize legally-sanctioned discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by the State of Indiana.

Seattle

David Ryder / Getty Images

Mayor Ed Murray announced that city money will not be used to fund city employees’ travel to Indiana. He will issue an executive order next week.

Seattleites know that discrimination has no place in our City – that’s just equality ‘101.’ Indiana’s S.B. 101 doesn’t reflect the values of our City. Seattle has been a leader in the fight to protect civil rights and ensure equality for all people – no matter who you are, or who you love.

Portland, Oregon

Mayor Hales to ban city-funded travel to Indiana in light of its new, discriminatory policy https://t.co/8k2g0PqPOD

— Charlie Hales (@MayorPDX)

New York City

In New York City, everyone's civil rights are protected, including our LGBT residents. Indiana's anti-equality law is disgraceful.

— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio)

Denver, Colorado

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock (right) in 2011. Jack Dempsey / AP Images

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock on Tuesday also announced a prohibition on the use of city funds for non-essential travel by all city employees on official business to the Indiana.

“Denver is an inclusive city, and we take tremendous pride in that,” Hancock said in a statement. “Due to the actions taken by the state of Indiana, we will join with other cities across the nation in suspending the use of city funds for official business to Indiana. This law is just wrong, plain and simple, and we will not tacitly condone discrimination through the use of taxpayer dollars.”

Wilco

We're canceling our 5/7 show in Indianapolis. “Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act” feels like thinly disguised legal discrimination.

— WILCO (@Wilco)

Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally

Citing #RFRA, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally cancel May 16 show at @OldNatlCentre.

— Dave Lindquist (@317lindquist)

Ellen DeGeneres

Jason Kempin / Getty Images

For anyone who is refused service under #Indiana's new law, you deserve better. Acceptance and progress take time. But they always arrive.

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow)

Brittany Mason, who is from Indiana

Many people have asked what my thoughts are about the new Religious Freedom Law in Indiana (my home state) I... http://t.co/h7HDHTItkz

— Brittany Mason (@Brittany_Mason)

Cher

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

If These Laws R Allowed 2 Stay,Will They Give The ppl Who Pass Them,The Courage 2Go Farther⁉️ Would They Imprison My Sweet Child😥Or Worse😫

— Cher (@cher)

Ashton Kutcher

Jonathan Leibson / Getty Images

Indiana are you also going to allow Christian establishments to ban Jews from coming in? Or Vice Versa? Religious freedom??? #OUTRAGE

— ashton kutcher (@aplusk)

David Letterman

youtube.com

Miley Cyrus

instagram.com

MC Hammer

Terry Wyatt / Getty Images

The spirit of this law is not Godly. This same spirit barred Black people from hotels and restaurants. Same song with a new DJ. #NoIndiana

— MC HAMMER (@MCHammer)

Audra McDonald

.@GovPenceIN Some in my band are gay & we have 2 gigs in your state next month. Should we call ahead to make sure the hotel accepts us all?

— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc)

James Van Der Beek

Given what happened in Indiana, it's time for this #ThrowbackThursday, along with what I tweeted about 4 years ago...

— James Van Der Beek (@vanderjames)

NCAA

Scott Halleran / Getty Images

The Final Four of the NCAA tournament is scheduled for next weekend, April 5 and 6, in Indianapolis.

We’re going to have to sit down and make judgments about whether or not (the RFRA) changes the environment for us doing our work, and us holding events,” NCAA president Mark Emmert told the Indy Star. “We’re deeply committed to the whole notion of inclusion. We have a very diverse membership. We value that very, very highly. We’ve got to work in and we’ve got to host our events in an environment that makes that possible.

“We don’t want to, because of political activity, disrupt an event that’s been in the making for so long, (and now) you’ve changed the experience for the student-athletes. But if we have to move events, we’ll do it.

Coaches of the Final Four teams released a statement on April 1:

We are aware of the recent actions in Indiana and have made a point to talk about this sensitive and important issue among ourselves and with our teams. Each of us strongly supports the positions of the NCAA and our respective institutions on the matter — the discrimination of any kind should not be tolerated. As a part of America’s higher education system, college basketball plays an important role in diversity, equality, fairness and inclusion, and will continue to do so in the future.

University of Connecticut

Jessica Hill / AP

University of Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie and other Huskie assistant coaches won’t be attending the Final Four competition or any other activities, university President Susan Herbst said in a statement Tuesday.

“UConn is a community that values all of our members and treats each person with the same degree of respect, regardless of their background and beliefs, and we will not tolerate any other behavior,” she said in a statement.

UConn won the competition last year, and many coaches attend the Final Four competition for the National Association of Basketball Coaches convention and other events.

Indianapolis Colts CEO and Owner:

The Colts have always embraced inclusiveness, tolerance, and a diverse fan base. We welcome ALL fans to Colts Nation. ONE FAMILY!

— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay)

NASCAR

Robert Laberge / Getty Images

NASCAR, which is hosting a race in Indianapolis in July, expressed disappointment with the law.

NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana. 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.

NFL

“Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard,” the NFL said in a statement. “We are continuing to analyze the implications of the law.”

Pat Haden, USC Athletic Director

I am the proud father of a gay son. In his honor, I will not be attending the CFP committee meeting in Indy this week. #EmbraceDiversity

— Pat Haden (@ADHadenUSC)

Reggie Miller

Jason Miller / Getty Images

— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT)

Charles Barkley

Brett Deering / Getty Images

Discrimination in any form is unacceptable to me. As long as anti-gay legislation exists in any state, I strongly believe big events such as the Final Four and Super Bowl should not be held in those states’ cities.

NBA, WNBA, Indiana Pacers, and Indiana Fever

The NBA, WNBA, Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever issued a joint statement.

The game of basketball is grounded in long established principles of inclusion and mutual respect. We will continue to ensure that all fans, players and employees feel welcome at all NBA and WNBA events in Indiana and elsewhere.

Jason Collins

Alex Goodlett / Getty Images

.@GovPenceIN, is it going to be legal for someone to discriminate against me & others when we come to the #FinalFour? http://t.co/uBlKbIf8YK

— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins98)

MLB

As the sport of Jackie Robinson, Major League Baseball and its 30 Clubs stand united behind the principles of respect, inclusion and acceptance. Those values are fundamental to our game’s diverse players, employees and fans. The National Pastime is proudly a sport of inclusion. We will continue to closely track how this matter unfolds.

The CEOs of Angie’s List, Anthem, Cummins, Dow AgroSciences, Eli Lilly and Co., Emmis Communications, IU Health, Roche Diagnostics, and Salesforce Marketing sent this letter to Pence:

Regardless of the original intention of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, we are deeply concerned about the impact it is having on our employees and on the reputation of our state. All of our companies seek to promote fair, diverse and inclusive workplaces. Our employees must not feel unwelcome in the place where they work and live.

As we seek to attract and retain great talent from Indiana and around the world, it is critical that we make it clear that Indiana is the welcoming state we all believe it to be. 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.

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.

The Indianapolis Star

It's this important. Tuesday's front page. #rfra ”

— Karen Ferguson (@karenferguson33)

From the front-page editorial:

We are at a critical moment in Indiana’s history.

And much is at stake.

Our image. Our reputation as a state that embraces people of diverse backgrounds and makes them feel welcome. And our efforts over many years to retool our economy, to attract talented workers and thriving businesses, and to improve the quality of life for millions of Hoosiers.

All of this is at risk because of a new law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that no matter its original intent already has done enormous harm to our state and potentially our economic future.

Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Art Peck and Chip Bergh, the CEOs of Gap and Levi’s respectively issued a joint statement calling on other retailers to join them in speaking out against legalized discrimination.

Discriminatory laws are unquestionably bad for business, but more importantly, they are fundamentally wrong. They must be stopped. At Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co., we are proud to say we are open to business for everyone.

Multiple companies have pulled out of the Indy Big Data Conference.

The following have all pulled out of @IndyBigData : @EMC @cloudera @hortonworks @platfora @Oracle @pivotal @EMCIsilon

— Arik Hesseldahl (@ahess247)

Indianapolis Motor Speedway or INDYCAR, is the sporting facility that hosts the Indy500 race. IMS President Doug Boles issued the following statement.

“For 105 years the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has engaged millions who want to celebrate the true spirit of American racing. IMS will continue to warmly welcome all who share our enthusiasm for motorsports – employees, participants and fans.”

Twitter

Bethany Clarke / Getty Images

We’re disappointed to see state bills that enshrine discrimination. These bills are unjust and bad for business. We support #EqualityForAll.

— Policy (@policy)

Apple

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

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)

Accenture

We oppose discrimination…We urge Indiana to move quickly to clarify the law and ensure discrimination will not be tolerated.

— Accenture (@Accenture)

Yelp

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

CEO Jeremy Stoppelman released a statement saying these laws set a terrible precedent and harm the “economic health of the states where they have been adopted … and the consumers who could be victimized under these laws.”

[I]t is unconscionable to imagine that Yelp would create, maintain, or expand a significant business presence in any state that encouraged discrimination by businesses against our employees, or consumers at large. I encourage states that are considering passing laws like the one rejected by Arizona or adopted by Indiana to reconsider and abandon these discriminatory actions.

AFSCME Women’s Conference

The AFSCME Women’s Conference decided to pull its October conference out of Indiana.

This un-American law sets Indiana and our nation back decades in the struggle for civil rights. It is an embarrassment and cannot be tolerated. As such, AFSCME will move our 2015 Women’s Conference in October from Indianapolis, Indiana, to another state. …

The 1.6 million members of AFSCME cannot in good conscience make such a sizeable financial investment in Indiana knowing that women and men in that state are deliberately being targeted for discrimination.

Disciples of Christ

The Indianapolis-based church said it may move its biannual convention to a different state.

Purportedly a matter of religious freedom, we find RFRA contrary to the values of our faith – as well as to our national and Hoosier values. Our nation and state are strong when we welcome people of many backgrounds and points of view. The free and robust exchange of ideas is part of what makes our democracy great.

As a Christian church, we are particularly sensitive to the values of the One we follow – one who sat at table with people from all walks of life, and loved them all. Our church is diverse in point of view, but we share a value for an open Lord’s Table. Our members and assembly-goers are of different races and ethnicities, ages, genders and sexual orientations. They have in common that they love Jesus and seek to follow him.

Salesforce

Today we are canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination. http://t.co/SvTwyCHxvE

— Marc Benioff (@Benioff)

Subaru

Eric Thayer / Getty Images

Michael McHale, director of corporate communications for Subaru of America, Inc., issued a statement to the editor of Car Reports.

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. 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.

Purdue University

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

University president President Mitch Daniels, who is also the former governor of Indiana, issued the following statement:

We stand by our university-wide policy on nondiscrimination. … While a longstanding Board of Trustees policy precludes Purdue taking institutional positions on matters such as the current controversy, we wish to take this opportunity to affirm our unwavering commitment to our principles and our opposition to any governmental measure that would interfere with their practice on our campuses.

Butler University

Darron Cummings / AP

President James Danko released a statement urging state leaders to assess the “damage done” by the bill.

While I have read a variety of opinions and rationale for RFRA, it strikes me as ill-conceived legislation at best, and I fear that some of those who advanced it have allowed their personal or political agendas to supersede the best interests of the State of Indiana and its people. No matter your opinion of the law, it is hard to argue with the fact it has done significant damage to our state.

Like countless other Hoosier institutions, organizations, and businesses, Butler University reaffirms our longstanding commitment to reject discrimination and create an environment that is open to everyone.

Indiana University

Doug Mcschooler / AP

University President Michael McRobbie said he hopes the state government reconsiders “this unnecessary legislation.”

For its part, Indiana University remains steadfast in our longstanding commitment to value and respects the benefits of a diverse society. It is a fundamental core value of our culture at Indiana University and one that we cherish. Indeed, in 2014 the trustees of Indiana University reaffirmed our commitment to the achievement of equal opportunity within the university.

San Francisco State University

President Leslie E. Wong banned all school-funded travel to Indiana. Wong also said he will not attend the required meeting of the NCAA Division II President’s Council held in Indianapolis in April.

I am dismayed, if not extremely disappointed, in the recent legislation signed into law in Indiana. It is unconscionable for this great University to spend its resources in a state that attempts to legislate discrimination of any kind.

Duke

Tom Pennington / Getty Images

The following statement was issued by Duke’s vice president for public affairs and government relations, Michael Schoenfeld. Duke is scheduled to play the NCAA’s Final Four tournament next weekend in Indianapolis.

Duke University continues to stand alongside the LGBT community in seeking a more equal and inclusive world, and we deplore any effort to legislate bias and discrimination. We share the NCAA’s concern about the potential impact of the new law, and will be vigilant to ensure that our student-athletes, supporters, and indeed all citizens and visitors are treated fairly and with respect.

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Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Mary Ann Georgantopoulos at maryann.georgantopoulos@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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