Indiana is in the midst of a public relations disaster over the newly enacted "religious freedom" bill, which might allow businesses to discriminate against members of the LGBT community. Apple CEO Tim Cook has vowed never to conduct business in the state; Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has banned state-funded travel to Indiana; and University of Southern California Athletic Director Pat Haden is skipping out on a College Football Playoff meeting this week in a protest move. On the other side of things, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has been making the media rounds nonstop as he desperately tries to repair his state's image.
It's going to need a lot of repairing. Although the Arkansas state legislature passed its very own religious freedom bill on Tuesday — a bill that closely mirrors Indiana's — Gov. Asa Hutchinson left Pence all alone on discrimination island. In a press conference on Wednesday, Hutchinson said he won't sign the Arkansas bill until the legislature revises it because he wants Arkansas "to be known as a state that does not discriminate but understands tolerance." Hutchinson told the media:
The issue has become divisive because our nation remains split on how to balance the diversity of our culture with the traditions and firmly held religious convictions. It has divided families, and there is clearly a generational gap on this issue. My son, Seth, signed the petition asking me, Dad, the governor, to veto this bill.
As Pence and the Indiana state legislature mull over their religious liberties, here's a look at which brands and companies have been taking a stand against the potentially discriminating bills in Indiana, Arkansas, and future states to come. Boycott Indiana? You bet they are.
A year after its controversial "This is wholesome" video ad featured a same-sex couple, Honey Maid continues to support LGBT rights. The company released the above tweet on Tuesday, stating: "We serve everyone."
Levi Strauss & Co. and Gap Inc.
The denim retailer released a joint statement with Gap Inc. on Monday denouncing Indiana's religious freedom law, which the company called "legalized discrimination." The joint statement, which is signed by the CEOs of both companies, said:
Both of our companies have a long history of standing up for equal rights and equal opportunity for all. We have consistently spoken out against discrimination and unequal treatment based on race, sex or sexual orientation.
As Indiana, Arkansas, and states around the country enact and consider legislation that perpetuates discrimination, we’re urging State Legislatures to stand up for equality by repealing and voting against these discriminatory laws.
These new laws and legislation, that allow people and businesses to deny service to people based on their sexual orientation, turn back the clock on equality and foster a culture of intolerance.
Discriminatory laws are unquestionably bad for business, but more importantly, they are fundamentally wrong. They must be stopped.
At Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co., we are proud to say we are open to business for everyone.
Michael McHale of Subaru of America, Inc. released this statement on Monday:
While we recognize that the voters in each State elect their own legislature to decide that State's laws, we at Subaru do not agree with any legislation that allows for discrimination, or any behavior or act that promotes any form of discrimination. 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.
The Arkansas-based corporation asked Gov. Hutchinson to veto the state's religious freedom bill when it comes across his desk. It looks like Hutchinson listened. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon made the request in a public statement posted to the corporation's website and Twitter account Tuesday night.
Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson denounced Indiana's law in a video statement broadcast on MSNBC on Tuesday. Sorenson called it "pure idiocy" and acknowledged that it wasn't just limited to Indiana:
The legislation in Indiana — and there are some bills being considered in other states — is not just pure idiocy from a business perspective — and it is that — the notion that you can tell businesses somehow that they are free to discriminate against people based on who they are is madness.
In a statement issued Tuesday, NASCAR’s senior vice president and chief communications officer, Brett Jewkes, expressed the company's disappointment in the law:
NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana. We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race.
According to NBC Sports, Indianapolis Motor Speedway also released a statement Tuesday criticizing the law and upholding inclusion and tolerance in the state:
For 105 years the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has engaged millions who want to celebrate the true spirit of American racing. IMS will continue to warmly welcome all who share our enthusiasm for motorsports – employees, participants and fans.
According to CNN Money, Starbucks said this week that it will join in the opposition over any law that discriminates against the LGBT community:
We join with others opposing any state or federal legislation that permits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and encourage policymakers everywhere to embrace equality.
Twitter tweeted (yes, that is possible) its disappointment over the religious freedom law on Monday.
And of course, openly gay Apple CEO Tim Cook has been the most outspoken brand leader over both Indiana's and Arkansas' religious freedom bills.
Images: Kate Sumbler/Flickr; Getty Images (8)