Barely a week old, Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has already stirred outrage, and retaliation, across the country. While the law shares the name of the 1993 federal act that Bill Clinton signed into law, the Indiana version added its own twist, taking a page out of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. by allowing businesses to assert their rights of “free exercise of religion,” which, as Garrett Epps of The Atlantic explains, would allow businesses to refuse to serve customers if doing so would go against the owner’s religious beliefs.
Some CEOs have condemned the law for its potential to legalize discrimination against LGBT individuals. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff led the charge by canceling all upcoming events in the state, each of which can bring in $8 or $9 million in business to its host city, Benioff told MSNBC. Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote a fiercely critical op-ed. Yelp CEO Jim Stoppelman and NASCAR both criticized the law’s discriminatory potential.
Here are the companies and people that have pledged what amounts to a low-scale economic sanction against the state of Indiana:
Salesforce: The largest tech employer in Indiana has canceled all corporate events in the state. Indiana’s governor has halfheartedly attempted to walk back from the law’s discriminatory potential, but Benioff is not swayed.
Angie’s List: The local business review website Angie’s List put an expansion of its Indianapolis headquarters on hold while it waits to see how the law hashes out. It is actively looking for different locations.
Wilco: The rock band Wilco has canceled upcoming concerts in Indiana.
Nick Offerman: The comedian and Parks and Recreation actor Nick Offerman has canceled a scheduled performance in Indiana.
AFSCME Women’s Conference: The public services employees union is moving its annual women’s conference out of Indiana for good.
And an honorable mention… The Indianapolis Star: The newspaper printed a powerful message across its front page yesterday, with all the photo real estate devoted to three simple words: “FIX THIS NOW.” Instead of a staff editorial buried deep in the paper, the newspaper dedicated its entire front page to a condemnation of the law.
Of course, there are local Hoosiers desperately trying to clean up the mess that the state government created, and the mayor of Indianapolis is rebukung the law’s discriminatory undertones in hopes of plugging the leak of business from the state capital. As with any economic sanction, hurting business hurts locals, too, and some outraged companies have backed down from their promises to boycott the state. Gen Con, the largest tabletop gaming convention, threatened to break contract and abandon the state but belatedly agreed to honor its contract until it ends in 2020 after pleas from local businesses that benefit from the convention, which attracted 56,000 attendees in 2014.