Despite Indiana lawmakers’ best efforts to revise the Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed into law last week by Governor Mike Pence, the recommendation website Angie’s List will not be expanding its corporate campus, claiming that the alterations to the bill do not go far enough.
Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma sounded optimistic when he said that revisions designed to protect the rights of members of the LGBT community against discrimination means that “every Hoosier’s rights are protected and won’t be infringed upon by the enactment of RFRA.”
“Hoosier hospitality had to be restored. Indiana does not discriminate against anyone: gay, straight, lesbian, black, white, religious, non-religious. RFRA was considered an exclusion of the LGBT community and nothing could be further from the truth,” he continued.
“We welcome everyone, we discriminate against no one. Many of us have family members who are gay. We never intended for this law to discriminate.”
Senate President David Long (R) also sounded sanguine, saying that “in reaching the agreement to clarify the law cannot and will not be used to discriminate against anyone, anywhere at anytime. Hopefully, the change to this law will put an end to what this law was misinterpreted to be.”
But Bill Oesterle — the CEO of Angie’s List, whose planned expansion of its Near-Eastside corporate headquarters would have created 1,000 new jobs and pumped $18 million into the local economy — called the lawmaker’s “fix” inadequate.
“Our position is that this ‘fix’ is insufficient,” he said. “There was no repeal of RFRA and no end to discrimination in Indiana.”
“Employers in most of the state of Indiana can fire a person simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning,” Oesterle continued. “That’s just not right and that’s the real issue here. Our employees deserve to live, work and travel with open accommodations in any part of the state.”
Representatives of Eli Lilly and Co. and Salesforce.com attended the announcement at the Statehouse and expressed their satisfaction with the amended bill.