Sunday, March 29, 2015


Tim Swarens, a columnist for The Indianapolis Star, tells us that Governor Mike Pence is backtracking hastily on the state's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which he signed on Thursday:
Gov. Mike Pence, scorched by a fast-spreading political firestorm, told The Star on Saturday that he will support the introduction of legislation to “clarify” that Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not promote discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The governor, although not ready to provide details on what the new bill will say, said he expects the legislation to be introduced into the General Assembly this coming week....
The negative response to this law has been impossible for Indiana to ignore. I think that's great. I think it's great that other states considering such laws will now need to think twice.

So why can't be there be similar negative groundswells in response to regressive state laws on other subjects?

Oh, yeah, right:
I spoke with Pence on the same day that ... Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle announced that his company will abandon a deal with the state and city to expand the company’s headquarters in Indianapolis because of RFRA’s passage.

Oesterle’s statement is a telling sign that the outrage over RFRA isn’t limited only to the political left. Oesterle directed Republican Mitch Daniels’ 2004 campaign for governor. And it’s a signal that the damage from the RFRA debacle could be extensive....

Pence said, for example, that he had a “cordial and productive” conversation with CEO Marc Benioff, who announced shortly after Pence signed the RFRA legislation on Thursday that the company will cancel all corporate-related travel to Indiana. That conversation, however, has not led to a reversal of the Salesforce decision.
Right -- this groundswell is effective because the issue matters to the business community, which has become more and more gay-friendly in recent years. Generally speaking, progressive forces alone aren't capable of bringing this kind of pressure to bear.

We're at cross purposes with the business community on economic issues, and on fighting climate change. On other issues, the business community has no dog in the hunt: fighting police brutality in non-white communities, say, or defending abortion access, or closing the gun show loophole. Businesses want to retain LGBT employees and customers, so the issue of LGBT rights is a rare area of agreement between progressives and a large segment of the business community.

Yes, progressive forces have won a few without having business on their side -- higher minimum wages here and there, the reversal of anti-union legislation in Ohio. But it's rare. We're still not very strong. We're going to be embattled until we can put a scare into conservatives without needing reinforcements.


Victor said...


I'm so tired of this crap!!!!

Who gives a sh*t?

petrilli said...

"We're still not very strong. We're going to be embattled until we can put a scare into conservatives without needing reinforcements."
Truer words aren't spoken enough. We are weak. And we won't be scaring anybody for a while. The progressive movement (perhaps even the enlightenment itself?) is going to have to be done all over again. All the lessons learned, all the gains made for working people from the great strikes of 1877 to the beginning of the end in 1980, and especially the social contract built over generations about where our interests lie in the age of capitalism. It all has to be rebuilt. All. Over. Again. Because the legacy of those brave generations has been dismantled under our noses. It won't recover in our lifetime. The present crop of democrats either can't define the problem, or like Cuomo or Hillary are part and parcel of it. Read the book 1877 by Michael A. Bellesiles to get an idea of what was accomplished in the years following and the terrible sacrifices made to achieve just a modest life of relative comfort and dignity. Gilded age 2.0 is upon us and this time we'll be facing Blackwater, Pinkerton.

Belvoir said...

"Right -- this groundswell is effective because the issue matters to the business community, which has become more and more gay-friendly in recent years."

Well, it's not really that recent. When I was a young gay person (22 in 1992) in NYC, I was happily boggled when a friend at (media corporation) handed me a long, long list of major companies with branches and interests everywhere, who not only didn't discriminate but actively supported the gay community in its hiring and relations. It was happily eye-opening for me, someone who just a few years earlier worried that I would have to hide, never be hired because I was gay. I pretty much grew up as a teen with this fear, which is a pretty rotten way to grow up, actually. And have no one to tell that fear to.

Anyway, my point is that any company or corporation that knows what's best when it comes to LGBT equality haven't just come around recently. It's been standard for big companies for a long time, 20 years in some big companies who want the best and brightest. Bigotry and discrimination is bad for business, and I can't say I'm sorry that Indiana is finding this out the hard way.

Victor said...

Obviously, I DO give a sh*t!

I'm just tired of reading that when our conservative uber-"Christian" politicians get outside of their small circle of friends, they're constantly surprised by the backlash from those of us who aren't intolerant religious bigots and assholes.