The sunk cost fallacy, an unfortunate cornerstone of many people’s decision-making process, seems as though it may take up the responsibility for sinking Indiana entirely. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is sticking to his guns in the apocalyptic aftermath of his passage of Indiana’s new RFRA Act. Let’s review the damage he has caused his state in the mere week since he signed the restrictive law into being.
Economically, corporate giant Apple is leading the charge alongside other massive international companies to publicly voice their discontent with the new law. Angie’s List is pulling out of a large expansion in the state that would include $18 million to the company in subsidies. Salesforce has even gone so far as to pay $50,000 for an individual employee’s relocation and has repeated this for any of their employees who are concerned about the discrimination now legalized throughout the state.
Politically, this decision has drawn the ire of everybody; from internal elements such as the mayor of Indianapolis, Greg Ballard, who signed an executive order explicitly protecting the LGBT community from discrimination, to the governments of external states (New York, Connecticut, Washington), cities (Denver, Oakland, D.C.) and counties (in Delaware, Wisconsin, Iowa) who have all banned government-funded travel to Indiana while the law is in effect.
Other consequences will reverberate well into the future, even after the law gets repealed. The NCAA is considering moving its headquarters from an area which “doesn’t prohibit discrimination” on top of debating whether or not to move the women’s Final Four out of Indiana next year. The reputation garnered through this ridiculous law has been so negative that Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson defied the odds and vetoed an identical bill that passed the state’s lawmakers. He soon after passed a tweaked version that falls into line with the well-established Federal RFRA standards from the Clinton Administration.
When literally everybody is disagreeing with you, you’re either a modern-day Galileo or very, very wrong. Thankfully though, Gov. Mike Pence extols the same virtues as the noble ass; headstrong determination, a one-track mind and the tenacious ability to ignore the social, political and economic spurs that are digging into his state and slowly bleeding it to death. If a calendar week begets this severe a backlash, then the reactionary law will soon morph Indiana into a present-day Sodom and Gomorrah under the constant siege of fiery criticism from both ends of the political spectrum.
We live in a changing world where social power is economic power is political power. At the intersection of these disparate forces rests the apparently outrageous notion that discrimination in the workplace and marketplace should not be permitted.
Indiana is not learning this lesson well. The “fix” to Indiana’s RFRA, signed hours ago by Gov. Pence, still maintains the ability of religious organizations to discriminate as private businesses did (like this pizza shop) and granted no expansion of human rights to the LGBT community or anti-discrimination provisions to protect them. Angie’s List has already openly disparaged the “insufficient” changes to law.
Mike Pence has made peeling back this law like pulling a full set of teeth. Standing up for what is fair should not take coercion from outside forces. That’s how parents make their 8-year-olds apologize, and those brats never say it with sincerity. Even after a repeal, an explanation, an apology and an excuse, nothing that comes from the Governor’s office or the Indiana Congress will be sincere regarding this law. They are being forced to do the decent thing; equality is not a product of their own volition. Remember this at election time, Hoosiers, and other states take note; if you would like to pass a law composed of antiquated ideas about equality, make sure you have the money, popular support and lack of exposure to do so.
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Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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