Swift Corporate Backlash Follows Indiana Governor Pence’s Decision To Sign Anti-Gay Law

mike pence

Less than 24 hours after Indiana Republican Governor Mike Pence signed a law permitting businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians, corporations lined up to boycott the state in response. The backlash was almost immediate. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff tweeted on Thursday, shortly after the bill was signed:

Today we are canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination.

The online review company Yelp also signaled its intentions to boycott Indiana, and every other state that allows discrimination against gays and lesbians. Yelp chief executive, Jeremy Stoppelman, stated on Thursday:

I hope that in the future the legislatures in the nineteen states that have these laws on the books will reconsider their actions. In the mean time, 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.

On Friday, the city of San Francisco announced it would boycott Indiana as well.  San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee ordered city departments to ban work-related trips to Indiana, unless they were necessary for public health and safety. Lee issued a statement condemning the Indiana law:

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.

San Francisco taxpayers will not subsidize legally-sanctioned discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by the state of Indiana.

While San Francisco is a government rather than a corporate entity, a municipal employee’s boycott can still have an economic impact by depriving Indiana of tourism revenue.

The Disciples of Christ Christian Church is also contemplating moving their 2017 convention out of Indianapolis, to protest the passing of the anti-gay law. 8,000 church members attend their annual convention, providing the host city with an estimated economic benefit of nearly 6 million dollars. However, the church has threatened to relocate their convention, due to concerns over the discriminatory Indiana law.

The swift backlash from tech companies, city governments and mainstream Christian churches may give Governor Pence and Republican lawmakers pause for reconsidering the wisdom of passing their anti-LGBT bill. While many Republicans appear uninterested in recognizing equal rights for LGBT citizens, they do recognize the power of money. If the idea that all people should be treated with equal dignity and respect is unpersuasive, perhaps the economic impact of a boycott will be.

Governor Pence may have thought putting his signature on the anti-gay law would make him a rising star in the Republican Party. However, if the boycott against his narrow-minded decision continues to gain momentum, it could sink Indiana’s state economy. If that happens, Governor Pence and the Republican-controlled legislature will be held responsible.

48 Replies to “Swift Corporate Backlash Follows Indiana Governor Pence’s Decision To Sign Anti-Gay Law”

  1. He should have paid attention to the reaction to the Arizona bill. The NFL threatened to pull the Super Bowl before the Governor even signed. In fact, by the end of the week the tourism people were begging the Governor to veto the bill. She did.

  2. Dumb@$$. Haven’t Republicans learned by now that this sort of move never works out well for them?

    Oh – I forgot: learning involves some sort of intellectual ability, however limited it may be.

  3. Christianity shouldn’t be a cover for bigotry. There’s no explanation he can make to justify this travesty.

  4. I hope this state goes belly-up.

    Indianistan, Texasistan, Arkansasistan, Mississippisitan, Oklahomaistan

  5. Those consumed with hate can’t see it as hurting themselves.

    Hope Indy doesn’t get any convention from now on. Maybe the 500 could be moved somewhere else.

  6. I believe that all those who take advantage of the new law to discriminate should be outed on the likes of Yelp and Angie’s List

  7. Indiana gopers aren’t bright enough to see what this is going to cost the state. Not only will they ignore the backlash, they’ll double down on their stupidity – until election time…

  8. “However, if the boycott against his narrow-minded decision continues to gain momentum, it could sink Indiana’s state economy. If that happens, Governor Pence and the Republican-controlled legislature will be held responsible.”

    Why? Kansans rewarded their ideological Koch-whores by re-electing them. Why should Indiana be any different?

  9. With the Final Four next weekend in Indianapolis, do you really think that this abomination of a bill was a good idea?

    Because I bet you guys that we will hear someone, possibly a fan of one of the four teams, getting shunned because he was gay/lesbian/transgender and they use the age old excuse of ‘religious freedom’

    That alone is an excuse from what this bill really does: It gives bigoted jackasses like him and his ilk the legal right to be bigots.

  10. It’s way too late in my book. He could rescind the legislation tomorrow, and it’s just too late. He’d be doing it for monetary motive, not for the right reasons.

    I wouldn’t touch Indiana with a 20-foot-pole, or any other state who is even thinking about this. Once the sentiment is there, too late in my book.

  11. He was expecting a pat on the back he should put on his iron shorts and prepare for lots of kicks in his posterior ; he’s a bigot and has always been a bigot.

  12. while the outrage is justified I keep thinking its all gonna fold….

    GenCom was adamant it was going to pull its how but now it says it won’t until 2020…

    and Yelp? really? have you started a rate Mike Pence page? or the Indiana Republican legislature?

    the NCAA could pull out now but it will plead that there is no time to select a new venue even tho Chicago is close as is New York ( Madison Square Garden anyone?)

    it just seems as if people are saying the ‘correct’ things with absolutely no intention of following thru…

  13. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I guess if they lose any more money the Feds will ante up even more than they already do to cover their loss.

    Indiana is on the list of 10 red states that take more Fed dollars than they give.

    “Indiana receives $2.01 from the federal government for every federal tax dollar it contributes and receives 33% of its funding from Uncle Sam.”


    If these companies keep their word about withdrawing their support, Indiana could be in very dire straights. I would find it extremely difficult to feel any sympathy for Pence and his extremists “christians”.

  14. I think I just figured out the “American Exceptionalism” about which the junior senator from Texas keeps trumpeting.

    With liberty and justice for all, except…

    Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, except…

    equal protection under the law, except…

  15. If everything the GOP has pulled since gaining the House and Senate isn’t enough to get people motivated toward the voting booth, I don’t know what will. I don’t care who is opposing any Republican anywhere, I will vote for their opponent. We can work on weeding out our own when we have finished with Republicans, but in the meantime, limiting the GOP as much as possible should be a top priority.

  16. All I can say is Boycott, Boycott, Boycott these states that want to put these kinds of laws on the books. It’s the quickest way to get rid of Governors like Pence and Republican held state legislators.Money talks and maybe voters will finally listen. They are thinking of doing this in NC also. We all need to vote BLUE in the next election.

  17. @jcblues: Calling it “GenCom” shows that you really don’t know what you’re talking about. GenCon was adamant that they would pull out, and they still are. They are under contract through 2020. They never said they would break that contract. If they did, they’d be sued into oblivion. They have not changed or softened their stance. You just misunderstood it.

  18. And again the derpublicans take a huge step BACKWARDS in time to bring back what is essentially a Jim Crow law, allowing business owners to hang “no gays served here” or “Christians ONLY!” signs on their doors… When will these knuckle-dragging, conservative throwbacks learn that these kinds of things ALWAYS put them on the WRONG side of history?

  19. According to an article in the Indiana Star on Mar 26, 2015, Gen Con said, “Due to specific dialog with long-time partners in Indy, we believe that Gen Con attendees not only will receive the same great service and hospitality in 2015, but an even warmer response from the city.

    “For as long as we stay in Indianapolis, we will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with this community, expand our efforts to bring more diversity to Gen Con, and welcome all.”

    Theres more that pretty much confirms what jcblues posted.


  20. The thing I don’t understand is, how does a business establishment that provides services determine who is gay and who is not?

    Not all LGBT actually act like the stereotypical LGBT person. They were very adept at hiding it within the military. Nobody wants to admit it, but there are a number of of LGBs in football, basketball, tennis, swimming, skiing and other sports. Not so sure about the transgender.

    Being asked to bake a wedding cake with two men/women on top might be a giveaway, as is going to the church/magistrate to be married, but are these businesses going to ask each individual their sexual orientation before they provide the requested service?

    Judging them by mannerism isn’t going to work. A friend of my boys has feminist body language and in the way he speaks, BUT he is not gay.

    So how DOES one tell if a person is gay so an other person can discriminate against

  21. Think I’ll tell my attorney to file a law suit. I want an equal bill allowing me to discriminate against religious people. Yep a “freedom FROM Religion” law!!!!

  22. Not every reaction will be immediate. But over time Indiana will suffer.pence has my state racing to the bottom.

  23. Signage listing whom you’d discriminate against should be required. Post a sign on your business saying who won’t serve gays or atheists or blacks, and put one other establishments that welcome all. Let the consumer know about your “deeply held beliefs” and let the market decide what business flourish and flounder.

    I may pass your standards but you’ll never pass mine nor get my business.

  24. Sweetie, Daytona is in Florida. You would be referring to the Indianapolis 500 which I believe is in May.

  25. Indiana’s So-called “religious freedom” law allows some businesses to refuse services to others persons suspected of engaging in sacrilegious practices. Those are practices that are contrary to Indiana’s officially prescribed religious orthodoxy.

    Indiana has defined which unsubstantiated religious opinions will be the officially-approved government orthodoxy. Hoosiers who subscribed to this state-approved religion can refuse to serve anyone suspected of doing something contrary to government-approved religion. Hence, some Hoosiers can discriminate against anyone else without consequence. Indiana calls this perversion of religious liberty “religious freedom.”

    Indiana’s law is a rejection of the American principle of “laws of nature and of Nature’s God” and the First Amendment.

  26. Agree – boycotts work because it means that they will lose money. Money is the only thing that they pay attention to. We boycotted Walmart and told them we were because of the way they treat their employees. Did you hear that WM was going to raise their employees pay?

  27. This Californian is sick and tired of paying for the backwoods, bigoted red states.
    California is America’s produce department.
    California ranks first in the United States for agricultural cash receipts followed by Iowa, Texas, Nebraska and Illinois.
    California grows over 200 different crops, some grown nowhere else in the nation. Crops include grapes, almonds, strawberries, oranges and walnuts.
    California produces almost all of the country’s almonds, apricots, dates, figs, kiwi fruit, nectarines, olives, pistachios, prunes, and walnuts. It leads in the production of avocados, grapes, lemons, melons, peaches, plums, and strawberries. Only Florida produces more oranges.
    The most important vegetable crops grown in the state are lettuce and tomatoes. Again, California leads the way. Broccoli and carrots rank second followed by asparagus, cauliflower, celery, garlic, mushrooms, onions, and peppers.

  28. I am thoroughly embarrassed and disgusted to be a native-born Hoosier today. While I do live in an area dominated by sane Democrats, my state as a whole, is amazingly sticking to the past in its attitudes.

    Indiana taxpayers like myself subsidized the construction of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy for two reasons: 1) a home field for the Colts, and 2) hoping to be hosting future Super Bowls (and the immense revenue that accompanies those.) as it stands now, we can kiss that prospect goodbye.

    The NCAA has been a steady revenue-producer for Indiana, yet now that potential annual income is out the window.

    This “license to discriminate” is disgraceful; if I didn’t own a great home and I were young enough to consider moving away from this 18th-century state, I’d go.

  29. I’ve already seen a certain professionally-designed sticker this morning on 3 businesses during an errand run, declaring “We Welcome Everyone.” It’s rapidly becoming a “thing” in my Hoosier state.

    Everyone I’ve spoken to about this issue says: “if I don’t see that sticker on the window (or on the website,) I am NOT patronizing the business.”

    Maybe we’ll eventually run the bigoted “Christian” business owners out of business anyway.

  30. Therein lies the proverbial rub…they cannot tell, but these faux Christians are willing to be wrong 99.9% of the time than to provide service .1% of the time to anyone who is not like them!

  31. Indiana ? Indulge, my ONLY connection with this state. Drove thru Indiana once. To this day, since 1973, I still use a beer called Sterling consumed in Terra Haute (sp ? ) , Indiana as my lowest ranking of all time. Never had to drive thru Indiana again.

  32. You are right it probably is too late to move the final four game however I can’t wait to see if people boycott the game and they lose money. If I had planned to go I would not now even if a relative was playing. It will cost them in short order.

  33. Part of the problem with repealing the law, the negative backlash mostly effects Indianapolis economy – not the tea-party rural areas. Even though Indianapolis (Giver) supplies a large part of the state income, you have to convince the rural areas (Takers) that repealing the law would be in their best interest. Not easy to do with the tea-party alarmists shouting reverse discrimination and christian persecution. You have to convince their reps that repealing SB101 would be in their best interests.

  34. Glad to hear it. Outsiders can make noise and boycott, but in the end change will have to come from within the state. Glad the sensible Indianans are stepping up.

  35. There should be a force majeure clause in the contract. The passage of a State law is something the City could not have changed, but it makes the environment unsuitable for the activity. Gen Con should invoke force majeure and leave for 2016 and as long as the law is in effect. This is their only opportunity for that. Saying we won’t come back 6 years from now – meh. They have the attention of the nation this week, Gen Con can gain a lot of respect, or a lot of not. I suspect a lawyer was involved in them backing down. If he’s the one who wrote it without a force majeure clause they should fire him anyway.

  36. All of my experiences with Indiana were negative before I started attending GenCon. I had only been exposed to the god, guns and constitution types and their intolerance. The folks working in Indy however are AMAZING, warm and friendly, and don’t deserve the hit their businesses will take after losing their fight against this bill. I’m thrilled to hear that those business owners, employees, and residents that know this crap bill for what it is, are joining forces.

  37. Nothing wrong with this law at all. If what someone wants to do at YOUR establishment is offensive you should have the right to refuse. Why would you want to deal with people that don’t want to deal with you. Some people truly believe that it is against their religion, so why can’t that be respected? It is time for everyone to understand that you can’t force your beliefs on anybody.

  38. This law is discriminatory. Period.

    But how about this? Every business that wants to deny service to people ought to put a sign in their window stating their intentions.

    Sort of like those “Whites Only” signs of years past, perhaps?

    Oh, and how do you know the person you deny service to is, in fact, gay? Will they have to start wearing some kind of sign, too?

    Oh, that brings to mind something else from a bygone era – a yellow star.

    Or perhaps people ought to realize that we are all human beings and deserve respect and deserve to participate fully in society simply because we are all members of the human race regardless of race, religion, or sexuality?

    Religion is not a weapon you can wield to get society to conform to YOUR beliefs. Christianity teaches understanding and love.

    It is not Christian-like to use religion, which is meant to unite, to divide us instead.

    Good day.

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