Employer cancels $40 million expansion in Indiana in protest against ‘religious freedom’ law
Angie’s List, an American listings website, has cancelled an headquarters expansion in Indiana worth $40 million.
The decision comes in direct response to Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s signing into law last week of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act – which gives businesses the right to discriminate against gay people on the grounds of religion.
The company had been working on a plan for several years to relocate their headquarters in a move that was projected to cost $40 million and alleged to create over 1,000 new jobs over five years.
Co-founder and chief executive officer Bill Oesterle explained the company’s position in a statement on Saturday, writing: “Angie’s List is open to all and discriminates against none […] and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents.
“We believe that the impacts of that bill on our ability to hire, continue to build a high growth technology company that they are material and they are inconsistent with the state’s activity to encourage growth.
“What that bill does to recruit our efforts to recruit good talent into Indiana is significant and 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.”
The law has drawn the condemnation of prominent figures in business such as out Apple CEO Tim Cook as well as those in entertainment industry, with talk-show host Ellen taking to twitter to condemn the passing of the legislation.
Indiana governor Mike Pence has responded to criticism by calling for legislation to ‘clarify’ the law’s intent – but ruled out providing legal protections for LGBT people.