Indiana Republicans are sending a clear message to Amazon as the company searches for a location for their new second headquarters complex. Indianapolis was named as one of the finalists for the new “HQ2,” but based on the GOP’s actions, the digital giant might as well pick some other city.
After days of wrangling, the GOP decided to keep language in their party platform that excludes LGBT parents from the definition of “family,” and condemns same-sex marriage. The platform tells Amazon that if you’re looking for an environment friendly to LGBTQ workers, Indiana isn’t it.
It’s not as if Amazon has hidden how important this requirement is. According to the Washington Post (a paper owned by Amazon’s owner Jeff Bezos), “Amazon has quietly made rights for and acceptance of gay and transgender people part of its criteria in choosing a second headquarters.”
Indiana Republicans have been down this road before, led by then-Gov. Mike Pence. Pence’s decision in 2015 to sign a religious liberty bill that essentially validated discrimination against LGBTQ citizens led to a firestorm of controversy. The law led to an intense backlash against the state led by major businesses, forcing Pence to back down.
Having learned nothing from that debacle, Indiana Republicans decided to repeat it. Under pressure from religious right groups, like the Indiana chapter of the American Family Association, the party scrapped language that talked about “loving adults” raising a family and instead doubled down on traditional marriage.
Amazon could decide it loves Indianapolis for other reasons and use its clout to negotiate pro-LGBTQ protections as part of its decision to move there. (It just forced Seattle to cancel a per-employee head tax to fund homeless programs.)
Or it could just cross Indianapolis off its list.
Then again, Republicans may be happy if Amazon went elsewhere, even at a steep cost to the local economy. After all, President Trump hates Bezos and by extension Amazon, because of the Post‘s critical coverage. He’s even tried to force the Postal Service to punish Amazon by raising its rates.
Since the GOP is the party of Trump, Indiana Republicans are just following the president’s lead in giving Amazon the finger.