Angie’s List, a company that publishes consumer reviews of local
businesses, announced Saturday that it decided to stop a planned
expansion project at its Indianapolis, Indiana headquarters because of
the state’s new religious freedom bill.
Indiana officials in recent days have scrambled to contain the fallout from the bill, which Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed into law on Thursday. Critics say the bill allows business owners to refuse to serve same-sex couples if they have a religious objection to doing so.
Angie’s List had been planning to convert an old Ford assembly plant on Indianapolis’ east side into more offices for its company campus, according to Reuters.
“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 CEO Bill Oesterle said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters. “Angie’s List is open to all and discriminates against none and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents.”
In an interview with the Indianapolis Star, Oesterle said he thought the legislation was a “national embarrassment” for Indiana. He also said a top executive for the company, who is gay, questioned his decision to move to Indiana to work for the company after the legislation was passed.
But Angie’s List does not plan to pull out of Indiana entirely. Instead, Oesterle told the newspaper that the company didn’t feel comfortable moving forward with a project that was promised tax credits from the state.
“We’re going to be very vocal on this issue and I don’t feel we can do that if we are taking state money,” he told the Indianapolis Star. “We don’t want to be bound by commitments in that deal given the current atmosphere in the state (government).”