Subaru Remains Quiet As Anti-LGBT Bill Becomes Law In Indiana

A new law has been passed in Indiana — one that will allow business-owners to discriminate against LGBT Americans based on their “deeply held religious beliefs”.

It’s a mean-spirited law, a sad, desperate vain effort to stem the tide of LGBT equality sweeping the country and much of the world.

It’s also bad for business — or so you’d think, if you were the sort of company that relied on a diverse workforce and customer base. And yet, Subaru — one of the auto industry’s poster children for LGBT equality — has remained silent about this new law. And it’s planning to remain that way.


We have reached a curious point in LGBT history.

For those of us in the Western World, it’s not the toughest point. We’re not being sent to concentration camps, we’re not being massacred (although LGBT folks in other parts of the world can’t say the same). And although HIV and AIDS remain major medical concerns, our friends, lovers, neighbors, and siblings aren’t dying all around us like they were 20 or 30 years ago.

No, the problem now is that we’ve gotten our foot in the door. Or, to use another metaphor, we’ve been given a place at the table, and the chair has been pulled out, we just haven’t been allowed to sit down yet.

African Americans reached a similar point in the early 1960s. Brown v. the Board of Education had done away with the doctrine of separate-but-equal, ushered in fifty years before in Plessy v. Ferguson. Legal rights had accrued, ensuring that Americans couldn’t discriminate against other Americans based on the color of their skin. To anyone with half a brain, it was very, very clear that African Americans had won their civil rights.

And yet, there were idiots like George Wallace, still standing in the doors of school houses, saying, “Not on my watch”.

That’s more or less where LGBT Americans find ourselves today. We even have our own George Wallace to ridicule: Judge Roy Moore, who is, ironically or not, also from Alabama.


It’s easy to think of the Midwest as a friendly, laid-back place. But as we’ve seen before, elected officials there can be just as vile as they are in other parts of the country.

So, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that Indiana state legislators have passed SB101, a bill that will allow those with deeply held — and deeply homophobic — religious convictions to discriminate against the LGBT community. Nor should it come as any surprise that the state’s Republican governor, Mike Pence, isn’t just willing to sign it, he’s eager to do so.

No, what should come as a surprise is the fact that one of the world’s most LGBT-friendly automakers, Subaru, has remained completely silent on the bill, despite the fact that Subaru has significant manufacturing facilities in the state. In fact, every Subaru built in the U.S. is built in Lafayette, Indiana.

When asked about that, Subaru’s Michael McHale sent us a brief statement by email:

“[A]s you know, Subaru of America has a long history of supporting LGBT programs – and we were the first US automaker to recognize same-sex partner rights – however we typically do not comment on state or federal legislation matters.”

Perhaps Subaru hasn’t heard about the numerous corporations that have voiced opposition to the bill, including Cummins and Salesforce. And maybe it hasn’t heard about Gen Con threatening to leave the state, along with its $50 million impact.

And maybe the company has no one on staff who uses Twitter, which has been tossing some very pointed jabs in Subaru’s direction for the past two days:


Even the most armchairiest of armchair psychologists understands that calling others names and telling people “no” is a terrible strategy for getting what you want. (Unless you want a lot of anger and fists flying back at you, in which case: great call.) So, all this bilious back-and-forth on social media isn’t likely to help. There’s probably no one who could change Governor Pence’s mind at this point — and even if someone could, there’s the question of how he could do a 180 while saving face.

No, homophobia is about to be enshrined into law in Indiana, just as it has in more than a dozen other states. And it’ll stay there until sexual orientation and gender identity become officially recognized as suspect classes and are added to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

We hope we’re still around to see that day. We hope Subaru is, too.

Thanks to John Voelcker for the tip.

7 thoughts on “Subaru Remains Quiet As Anti-LGBT Bill Becomes Law In Indiana

  1. I can see where SOA is coming from. Do I personally agree? Nope. But I get it. And it certainly wouldn’t deter me from buying a Subaru.

  2. I contribute to this site and also live in Indianapolis. What Governor Pence did today is disgusting – and make no mistake, no matter what he said, this is a reaction to the marriage ban being overturned. That said, I have also visited the Subaru plant in Lafayette and covered it for the Indianapolis Star. I have every belief that if I worked for the company, I would be treated with dignity, respect, and as a full team member. Nobody would care if I were gay or not. I wish they had said more because they carry a lot of weight in the state – in terms of investment, wages, and raw material purchases. But, they are not going to stop a major plant expansion over it. I respect how they treat employees and customers – just wish they had done more… That said, I didn’t see GM (also very disappointing knowing how LGBT-friendly the company is), Toyota, or Honda – automakers with significant footprints in Indiana – doing anything either. The silence was deafening. Cut jobs and even Pence will get it!

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