Tim Cook, Salesforce, Angie's List take a stand against new Indiana law
The drama in Indiana continues today. Last week the state’s governor, Mike Pence, signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Critics contend the law allows businesses to refuse service to customers that don’t share their religious beliefs. Members of the LGBT community are particularly concerned about the law.
Now, as the arguments continue into a new week, many business leaders are taking a stand. Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook wrote a sternly worded editorial in the Washington Post condemning such discrimination. Salesforce (CRM) CEO Marc Benioff has canceled all employee travel to the state and Angie’s List (ANGI), headquartered in Indianapolis, canceled a $40 million expansion after the act was signed into law.
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“You’re seeing CEO and companies being proactive politically and I think it’s interesting,” says Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer. “This is a classic sort of American issue of states rights versus federal rights but instead of the federal government coming into play, now more and more it seems like corporations are taking the lead and attacking these sorts of things that they consider untoward, unsavory or just not good business.”
Yahoo Finance’s Aaron Task spoke with Daniel Lubetzky, Founder of KIND Healthy Snacks and asked him to weigh in as a CEO who would need to decide whether or not to do business in Indiana. He said he needed to look closer at the details of the law but offered, “My whole life is about building bridges and my general philosophy is to thrive in a our diversity and to recognize the binds we have between people." He added that his goal in all business ventures is “connecting human beings with one another so they discover each others humanity.”
The White House seems to agree. President Obama’s press secretary Josh Ernest said on ABC News’ “This Week” yesterday that “it should be easy for leaders in this country to stand up and say that it is wrong to discriminate against people just because of who they love.”
Oddly enough, it would seem Republican legislators in Indiana agree. State senate president David Long and house speaker Brian Bosma said today that discrimination was not the intent of the law. Long said in a press conference earlier today:
It is not the intent of the law to discriminate against anyone and it will not be allowed to discriminate against anyone...To the extent that we need to clarify through legislative action that this law does not and will not be allowed to discriminate against anyone, we plan to do just that.
So far Gov. Pence is standing his ground, telling ABC News (also on "This Week") that changing or repealing the law is not on his agenda.