The law could allow businesses to turn away LGBT customers on religious grounds
The state of Indiana is facing backlash from businesses after Governor Mike Pence signed a bill into law Thursday that could allow companies to turn away gay and lesbian customers on the grounds of religious freedom. While Pence says the bill isn’t about discrimination, opponents of the measure say it violates citizens’ rights.
Mark Benioff, CEO of cloud computing company Salesforce, told Re/code that his company is reconsidering the investments it’s made in Indiana.
“We’re a major source of income and revenue to the state of Indiana, but we simply cannot support this kind of legislation,” said Benioff. He added that Salesforce has already canceled all programs requiring customers or employees to travel to Indiana.
Also tweeting his disagreement with the new law was Max Levchin, CEO of HVF (Hard Valuable Fun) and PayPal founder. However, Levchin didn’t say any of the companies with which he’s involved will cease doing business with the state, Bloomberg notes.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, a non-profit organization that’s scheduled to host the Men’s Final Four basketball championship in Indiana later this month, also expressed concerns.
“We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement to CNN Thursday afternoon.
Other sports leagues could put pressure on Indiana over the bill as well. Outsports.com writer Cyd Ziegler suggested that the National Football League could threaten to move the annual NFL Draft Combine from Indianapolis or not award future Super Bowls to the city over the legislation. He notes that the NFL considered such a move when Arizona was considering passing a similar law that was ultimately vetoed.
Indiana could face other boycotts over the bill as well. Star Trek actor and gay rights advocate George Takei wrote on Facebook there could be a boycott of Indianapolis’ annual gaming convention, GenCon, over the law. GenCon is the city’s “largest convention in attendance and economic impact,” the Indianapolis Star reports.