Metro Weekly

Indiana’s bigotry: Celebrities, companies and politicians react

A lot of people are unhappy with the state's "religious freedom" law

Welcome to Indiana

A lot of people are pissed at Indiana’s new “religious freedom” bill.

Signed into law by Governor Mike Pence (R) yesterday, it allows business owners to discriminate against LGBT people for religious reasons. Yes, Indiana’s religious bigots are now free to kick you out of their stores, restaurants and bars, or refuse your cake order, wedding ring purchase or choice of venue, all thanks to Governor Pence and the state’s Republican-dominated General Assembly.

Unsurprisingly, the new law hasn’t gone down well. Business leaders, politicians and celebrities have taken to social media and issued statements decrying the law — which could ultimately have huge ramifications for Indiana’s economy, if boycotts and severed business relationships have an effect.

We’ve gathered together some of the best reactions, so scroll down and enjoy the overwhelming support for LGBT freedom and equality, from Hillary Clinton, Tim Cook, Miley Cyrus, Audra McDonald and more.

First up, the politicians.

Speaking today, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said,

“The signing of the bill doesn’t seem like it’s a step in the direction of equality and justice and liberty for all Americans.”

Meanwhile, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced her disdain via Twitter.

And San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee (D), who has banned city-funded trips to Indiana in response to the law, proclaimed,

We stand united as San Franciscans to condemn Indiana’s new discriminatory law, and will work together to protect the civil rights of all Americans.”

The business community, especially technology companies that typically support LGBT rights, have been vocal in their condemnation of the bill.

Marc Benioff, chief executive of Salesforce.com, Tim Cook, the openly gay CEO of Apple, and PayPal co-founder and Yelp investor Max Levchin all took to Twitter to voice opinions.

In a statement from Yelp, CEO Jeremy Stoppelman wrote,

“It is unconscionable to imagine that Yelp would create, maintain, or expand a significant business presence in any state that encouraged discrimination.”

And NCAA President Mark Emmert said, in a statement to CNN,

We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees.”

Celebrities were perhaps the most vocal, using social media to slam Governor Pence for signing the bill into law.

Veteran broadcaster Larry King weighed in with his opinion on Twitter:

Bravo’s Andy Cohen, meanwhile, took a personal approach in his response.

Broadway icon Audra McDonald challenged Pence directly, adding in additional tweets that she would be donating money from any Indiana shows to help LGBT charities there.

–Openly gay tennis star Martina Navratilova — who recently married her partner — later tweeted that, despite two legislatures okaying the bill before it reached Pence, “the buck stops and starts with him.”

Miley Cyrus said what was on many minds, calling Governor Pence an “asshole” for signing the bill into law.

And RuPaul’s Drag Race star Michelle Visage and longtime ally didn’t mince words, tweeting “religious freedom my ass.”

Of course, it’s George Takei who could have the biggest impact. The Star Trek actor and social media darling is calling upon his millions of followers to boycott the state of Indiana entirely. 

I am outraged that Gov. Pence would sign such a divisive measure into law. He has made it clear that LGBT couples, like…

Posted by George Takei on Thursday, 26 March 2015

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.