A $40 million renovation of Angie’s List, a $315 million corporation headquartered in Indiana that lets users review local businesses, has been halted because of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“Angie’s List is open to all and discriminates against none and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents,” CEO Bill Oesterle said. The expansion is “on hold until we fully understand the implications of the freedom restoration act on our employees, both current and future.”
The law was approved by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature and Gov. Mike Pence. It allows businesses the right to refuse service to LGBT customers because of their faith.
Oesterle, a Republican who supported Pence during the governor’s race, said he still respects him.
“Look, I’m very proud to be a Republican,” Oesterle said. “I’m concerned about the direction that the legislature and governor have chosen to go here…I’m concerned that the valid input around this type of legislation is not being heard in the Statehouse.”
Oesterle fears the law will keep the company from being able to recruit the top talent.
“We believe that what that bill does to our efforts to recruit good talent into Indiana is significant,” he said. “We’re unwilling to engage in an economic development agreement that is contingent on us hiring people in when the state is sending a message out to potential employees that is not always palatable.”
Angie’s List isn’t the only business to pull back because of the new law.
NASCAR, which hosts the Indianapolis 500 in the state, said they are “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 evens in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race,” a representative for NASCAR said.
Governor Jay Inslee tweeted “I’m opposing an administration-wide ban on travel to Indiana. Washington [state] stands for equality.”
Wilco has announced they will be canceling their May 7 show in Indianapolis and tweeted, “‘Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act’ feels like thinly disguised legal discrimination.”
Tim Cook also tweeted, “Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana’s new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar #HB1228.”
Celebrities from Miley Cyrus to Stephen King and Ashton Kutcher have tweeted their disappointment at the law as well.
“Indianapolis welcomes people of any sexual orientation, race, gender identification, ethnicity, religion, or creed,” City-County Council President Maggie Lewis said. “RFRA does not reflect the diversity we celebrate in our great city.”