Two weeks ago, Indiana Governor Mike Pence was probably having a nice lunch with friends, looking forward to the Easter break and a weekend full of egg hunts or hoop rolls or hopscotch or whatever traditional, wholesome holiday activities that he and his family enjoy.
We can only assume that he was also happy about the looming passage of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoratoin Act, sure as shootin’ that signing the bill would give him street cred with the increasingly small but still-shrill, still-wacko conservative base that Pence so desperately needs to win over if he’s ever going to earn a four-year stint in the Oval Office.
Things did not go as planned.
The backlash against the RFRA began slowly. At first, it was fueled by LGBT activists, some local companies, and a handful of larger corporations with significant presences in the state. Subaru — which has its only U.S. manufacturing facilities in Indiana — politely refused to comment.
Then, the blowback intensified. I’ll leave it to the historians to explain why — there are probably a thousand different reasons, each perfectly legit. But the next thing we knew, Subaru had issued another statement that more directly condemned the RFRA. Toyota and NASCAR followed suit. So did Fiat Chrysler.
Now, according to Auto News, General Motors and Honda have come out against the bill, too.
GM’s statement appears to be the softer of the two. We’re still waiting to receive a copy of the full quote, but the gist is similar to the second statement issued by Subaru: we don’t believe in discrimination, and we maintain an LGBT-inclusive workplace.
By contrast, Honda’s statement is much more forceful, referencing Indiana and the RFRA directly:
“Discrimination in any form is contrary to Honda’s fundamental belief in respect for the individual. We encourage the legislature to take action to assure that Indiana is a welcoming place to visit, live, work and do business.”
So, long story short, Pence’s dreams of accolades and political momentum have completely dissipated. Instead, by passing the RFRA, he and his cronies have managed to (a) piss off some of Indiana’s biggest movers and shakers, and (b) make themselves look foolish by trying to crab-walk around this very hot potato. (To massively mix metaphors.)
Hopefully, the legislative “fix” that Pence has asked for will rear its head today and the man can finally get a decent night’s sleep. Until then, keep your eyes open — the fun ain’t over ’til it’s over.