Take heed, Arkansas: the same day Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana announced he would sign the state’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” — an anti-LGBT bill with disturbing similarities to Rep. Bob Ballinger’s HB 1228 — Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff announced that the company will be “cancelling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination.”
Founded in San Francisco in 1999, the $4 billion cloud computing company currently employs 12,000 people and is a member of the Fortune 500. They bought Indianapolis marketing software company ExactTarget in 2013 for $2.5 billion.
Pence signed the bill today. Meanwhile, Benioff has spent much of his day on his Twitter feed, encouraging his CEO pals who run Fortune 500 tech companies to rethink whether Indiana is a place where they want to do business.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud Division CEO Scott McCorkle had previously written a letter to the Indiana State legislature saying that the company’s success is dependent on being able to attract and retain “the best and most diverse pool of highly skilled employees, regardless of gender, religious affiliation, ethnicity or sexual orientation,” something that McCorkle said would be harmed if the Indiana RFRA became law.
“This lack of clarity hurts the business community and the connections that a successful region and state need to continue progress in a competitive environment,” McCorkle went on to say. “Without an open business environment that welcomes all residents and visitors, Salesforce will be unable to continue building on its tradition of marketing innovation in Indianapolis.”
Looks like they weren’t bluffing. Definitely should serve as warning to those Arkansas politicians who think they can pass divisive and bigoted laws and still have a future that looks like The Future. Probably won’t, but should.
P.S. — Still up in the air is whether a gaming convention that brings $50 million per year into Indiana will go through with their own threat to leave the state over the anti-LGBT law as well.