NEW YORK — Business leaders are pushing back against an Indiana law that allows them to refuse service to gay people on religious grounds.
The controversial law gives businesses owners who oppose homosexuality for religious reasons the right to turn away gay, lesbian and transgender people. Governor Mike Pence signed the law Thursday, hailing it as a victory for “religious liberty.”
Businesses say the law will make it harder to attract employees and customers. They also note that Indiana doesn’t currently have any laws prohibiting discrimination against gay people.
Indiana Chamber of Commerce: “In our eyes, the law is entirely unnecessary. Passing the law was always going to bring the state unwanted attention.”
Eli Lilly: “We certainly understand the implications this legislation has on our ability to attract and retain employees. Simply put, we believe discriminatory legislation is bad for Indiana and for business.”
Eli Lilly employs more than 11,700 workers in Indiana, mostly in Indianapolis.
NCAA: “We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees.”
Indianapolis is a major destination for conventions and sporting events, including the upcoming NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said the NCAA will “work diligently” to ensure competitors and visitors at next week’s Final Four are not “negatively impacted by this bill.”
Gen Con, the video game convention: The law would “factor into our decision making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years.”
The convention brought 56,000 people to the state last year, according to Gen Con CEO Adrian Swartout.
Salesforce: CEO Marc Benioff said on Twitter that his company will “dramatically reduce our investments” in Indiana, calling the law an “outrage.” Benioff called on other CEOs in the tech industry to follow suit.
Yelp: CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said the company will “make every effort” to expand its corporate operations in states that do not have such laws on the books. “These laws set a terrible precedent that will likely harm the broader economic health of the states where they have been adopted, the businesses currently operating in those states and, most importantly, the consumers who could be victimized under these laws.”