This week, Indiana Competes launched a coalition of 150+ businesses united in support of the passage of comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination protections for a more prosperous Indiana.
Representatives from business giants like the Indy Chamber, Cummins and an Indy and Bloomington favorite, Upland Brewing Company spoke at the press event. The tone was aspirational while firmly acknowledging the reputational damage caused by RFRA and the hard work yet to come in repairing the state’s economic brand.
Chief Administration Officer of Cummins, Marya Rose, cited LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections as necessary to reversing the negative consequences of RFRA:
Make no mistake, what happened last March really damaged Indiana’s reputation. We need a non-discrimination statute that is fully inclusive and ensures that people are treated equally under state law.
For most companies, the primary concern is steady growth—and being able to attract and retain top talent is a key factor in that equation. As Michael Huber, president and CEO of Indy Chamber, points out, Indiana is only as competitive as its workforce: “Our businesses are better able to compete in a global economy if we have a reputation as a state that is inclusive.”
Local businessman and president of Upland Brewing, Doug Dayhoff, spoke at length about his experience with the trickle-down impact of Indiana’s damaging RFRA controversy in doing business outside of the state, explaining:
The brand of our company is associated with the brand of Indiana and so as we sell outside the state, the brand of Indiana impacts us.
After the initial launch event, business leaders made stops in several major cities, including South Bend and Bloomington, to speak to press and engage with the public. They plan to host four more across the state over the next two weeks to help educate the public on why LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination legislation is a bedrock of Indiana’s economic prosperity.