Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law on Thursday morning the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a political move business leaders within the state had voiced fierce opposition to in the days surrounding the Indiana legislature’s passage of the bill on Monday and it being sent to the governor for his signature.
The new law allows businesses to use an owner’s faith as a reason to refuse service to customers, including same-sex married couples. The risks from the act range from potential workplace lawsuits on religious grounds to a broader and deeper business chill in the Hoosier State, with money-making conferences and major corporations threatening to pull out, difficulty attracting key job creators like tech sector companies and a wide-ranging ripple effect on small-business owners.
The governor’s move comes during a sensitive period of time for Indiana’s economy—it has shown signs of a small-business boom in recent years, and has fared relatively well in job creation and new-company formation, but is also seeking to break out from the sluggish growth that has typified the post-crisis economic recovery