Which Brands Spoke Out Against the Religion Bills

Apple, Salesforce and Others Called the Legislation Discriminatory, Bad for Business

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It took a little more than a week for Indiana and Arkansas politicians to revise "religious freedom bills" that many believed would permit discrimination against the LGBT community, women and possibly religious communities.

While there was a growing national outcry from the public, there was also swift and aggressive corporate opposition to the legislation, with many companies flexing their muscles through statements, tweets and threats.

Among the strongest reactions came from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who offered employees $50,000 relocation packages to move out of Indiana. He also suspended employee travel to the state and canceled Indiana events.

Angie's List threatened to cancel the $40 million expansion plan for its Indianapolis headquarters, which was slated to bring the city 1,000 jobs by 2019.

General Electric, PayPal and Yelp joined the opposition, too. CEOs from Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co. released a joint statement saying the laws are "fundamentally wrong" and "must be stopped."

Amazon rocked the boat by pulling out of an Indianapolis conference this week. Soon after, Pivotal, Platfora, Cloudera and EMC followed suit.

Historically vocal conservative brands like Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby were silent.

In addition to tweeting his opposition, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote a Washington Post op-ed explaining Apple's position on the legislation, as well as his experiences growing up in the segregated South.

"At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers' lives," he wrote. "We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That's why, on behalf of Apple, I'm standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation -- wherever it emerges."

Many thought traditionally GOP-leaning Walmart would keep quiet on the topic, but CEO Doug McMillon asked Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson to veto its religious freedom law. Walmart's headquarters are located in Arkansas, and it extended health-care benefits to same-sex couples in 2014.

With the Final Four tournament taking place in Indianapolis April 4 through April 6, the NCAA was in a tough spot. President Mark Emmert said he was deeply concerned about the law, but otherwise ignored calls to boycott the state.

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said in a company blog post that it was "unconscionable to imagine that Yelp would create, maintain or expand a significant business presence in any state that encouraged discrimination by businesses against our employees, or consumers at large."

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