Metro Weekly

Angie’s List pulls Indiana building project over discriminatory “Religious Freedom” law

“We are putting the ‘Ford Building Project’ on hold until we fully understand the implications of the freedom restoration act on our employees, both current and future…. Angie’s List is open to all and discriminates against none and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents.”

Screen shots of Angie's List website and Co-founder Bill Oesterle.
Screen shots of Angie’s List website and Co-founder Bill Oesterle.

— From a statement released by Bill Oesterle, CEO of Angie’s List, a popular web company that enables some 3 million consumers to share reviews about local service providers. AngiesList.com stated in October that its headquarters were in Indianapolis, Indiana, and it had planned growth and investment in that city this year, with the potential hiring of hundreds of new workers in IT, sales and services.

Today’s news release said that “the company has pulled its proposed campus expansion project on Indianapolis’ Near East Side from City-County Council consideration as a result of the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” 

According to a 2014 article in the Indianapolis Business Journal, the project at issue was to be a “rehab” of a former Ford factory. “The company plans to spend $40 million to renovate … and build an adjacent 1,000-space parking garage. The project comes with a promise of 1,000 new jobs and a package of more than $25 million in state and city incentives.”

The Indianapolis Star quotes Oesterle today as not wanting to take “state money” since the company planned to be “very vocal on this issue.”

Indiana’s governor, Mike Pence, signed the controversial legislation into law on Thursday, March 26, in a private ceremony. It’s widely believed that recent pro-gay marriage rulings are the root of Pence’s claim that “many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.” Since the law was signed, social media reaction has exploded, and a number of businesses and famous voices have expressed their disapproval, including the White House,  potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Tim Cook of Apple and many others.

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