Whaddya know — it turns out, people do care about politics, and not just us. All it takes is a critical mass of outrage, and suddenly everyone is jumping onboard.
Take Indiana for example, that boring sibling of Illinois and Kentucky that you always forget exists. The beleaguered governor, apparently thinking he was appealing passed a “turn away the gays” bill last week, and now businesses and celebrities and activists are tumbling all over themselves to express outrage.
This clamor would have been nice before the bill, but hey, better late than never. If nothing else, it might spook homophobic lawmakers in other states, reminding them that discriminatory laws have consequences. (Financial consequences, that is. You know, the only kind politicians actually care about.)
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite quotes and figures from the tidal wave of opposition. It’s great to see the world of gay activism, corporate responsibility and even pro sports are merging these days, something that was not true even a decade ago. NASCAR, Subaru and Harvey Fierstein on the same list. Who knew?
- Harvey Fierstein: “SHAMEFUL.”
- Audra McDonald: “It’s 1950” in Indiana
- George Takei: “#boycottindiana”
- Miley Cyrus: “The only place that has more idiots that Instagram is in politics.”
- A joint letter from Angie’s List, Anthem, Cummins, Dow, Eli Lilly, Emmis Communications, Indiana University, Roche, and Salesforce: Urged the state to enact “new legislation that makes it clear that neither the Religious Freedom Restoration Act nor any other Indiana law can be used to justify discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender identity.”
- Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard: “discrimination is wrong, and I hope that message is being heard loud and clear at our Statehouse.”
- Apple CEO Tim Cook: “At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I’m writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement. From North Carolina to Nevada, these bills under consideration truly will hurt jobs, growth and the economic vibrancy of parts of the country where a 21st-century economy was once welcomed with open arms.”
- Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce: Bill would cause “loss of business and inability to attract and retain talent,” and “threatens to undo years of progress we have made in positioning Indianapolis as a welcoming community.”
- NCAA: “We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees. … Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”
- Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman: “…it is unconscionable to imagine that Yelp would create, maintain, or expand a significant business presence in any state that encouraged discrimination by businesses against our employees, or consumers at large.”
- Medical company Eli Lilly: “We’re trying to cure diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and you need the best minds in the world to do that. And some of the best minds in the world don’t want to come to a state that is seen as discriminatory.”
- Subaru: “Furthermore, we do not allow discrimination in our own operations, including our operations in the state of Indiana. We will certainly continue to take the issue of non-discrimination into consideration as part of our decision-making processes.”
- NASCAR: “NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana.”
- Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle: “We believe that the impacts of that bill on our ability to hire and continue to build a high-growth technology company are material and are inconsistent with the state’s activities to encourage growth.”
- Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy: “The governor’s not a stupid man, but he’s done stupid things.”
So what happens now? Well, the Governor has said that he would support a bill that would “clarify” the intent of the law. That’s safe for him to say, since such a bill would probably never pass the legislature.
Freedom Indiana is giving it their best shot, though. They’ve proposed a “Fairness for all Hoosiers Act,” which would add nondiscrimination policies for housing, employment, and public accommodation. This is an excellent way to, at the very least, call Pence’s bluff. And who knows, maybe he’ll actually be shamed into signing it.
Barring a bill that provides nondiscrimination protection for LGBTs, the only way to fix this thing now might be a lawsuit. So get out your checkbooks, companies and celebrities, because this one’s going to be expensive.