• Source: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr
  • $4 Billion Corp. To Indiana: We Warned You About RFRA, Now We're 'Forced To Dramatically Reduce Our Investment'

    The CEO of major U.S. corporation is following through on his warning to the State of Indiana to not pass a discriminatory "religious freedom" bill. 

    Salesforce, founded in 1999, has grown into a $4 billion software corporation. It is a component of the prestigious S&P 500, and boasts 12,000 employees. 

    50-year old CEO, founder, and chairman Marc Benioff (photo), who started the company in San Francisco, and his wife Lynne Krilich, have given millions to children's hospitals.

    Recently, Salesforce came out strongly against Indiana's discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 

    LOOK: $50 Million Convention Threatens To Leave Indiana If Governor Signs 'Religious Freedom' Bill

    "We have been an active member of the Indiana business community and a key job creator for more than a decade," Scott McCorkle, CEO of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud division, wrote in a letter to Indiana lawmakers. "Our success is fundamentally based on our ability to attract and retain the best and most diverse pool of highly skilled employees, regardless of gender, religious affiliation, ethnicity or sexual orientation."

    "Without an open business environment that welcomes all residents and visitors," he warned, "Salesforce will be unable to continue building on its tradition of marketing innovation in Indianapolis."

    This morning, Republican Governor Mike Pence signed the controversial bill into law, despite vocal objections from Salesforce, along with Gen Con, a $50 million annual gaming convention, Fortune 500 member Cummins, Eskenazi Health, Eli Lilly and Co., George Takei, Pat McAfee, Jason Collins, the mayor of Indianapolis, and the State of Indiana's tourism board, among many others.

    Last night, after Gov. Pence announced he would be signing the bill into law, Benioff responded:

    Today, Salesforce's Marc Benioff made good on their warning.

    And he went one step further, warning his fellow industry leaders:

    UPDATE I – 2:00 PM EST:
    CNN reports, "The chief executive of tech giant Salesforce told Pence that his company -- which had bought Indianapolis-based Exact Target for $2.5 billion in 2013 -- would abandon the state and its expansion plans there if he signed the measure into law."


    Note: This article's headline has been updated to be more specific. 

    Image by Steve Jurvetson via Flickr and a CC license


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    • commented 2015-03-31 10:46:11 -0400
      The overwhelming majority of us in Indiana hope that people understand WE didn’t come up with this BS bill, nor do we support it. We ALL feel we are being punished here.

    • commented 2015-03-28 11:49:36 -0400
      Derek Williams, that’s simply not true. People have been fired or not hired, killed, beaten, and refused service because they were religious in the US. This is a heinous law and no one should do business with Indiana until it is repealed, the Governor recalled and every legislator who voted for it resigns, but let’s not make things up.

    • commented 2015-03-28 10:07:00 -0400
      No-one in America has ever been sacked from their job, kicked out of home, disinherited by their family, shunned by their peers, expelled from their school, bashed, killed or imprisoned by their government or refused service because they were religious, but ALL of these things have happened to gays because they are gay, and it’s still ongoing.

    • commented 2015-03-28 07:25:47 -0400
      This isn’t a business punishing a state because of a law ‘they don’t like. This is a law that will hurt their business. A business like Salesforce, as Eli Lilly, depends on their ability to attract and retain the best, brightest and most talented employees they can. Polls show that between 80-85% of people under 30 support same sex marriage. They have gay friends. They know this is bigotry and discriminatory. And they won’t move to or stay in a state that encourages such practices. This will hurt their companies now and in the future. Which is exactly what these companies along with all the other tech companies and the governor’s own employment division told him prior to signing this bill. But he didn’t care.

    • commented 2015-03-28 03:56:39 -0400
      I see some guy justifying this law because democrats passed it federally. Oops, he didn’t do much research because The RFRA was held unconstitutional as applied to the states in the City of Boerne v. Flores decision in 1997, which ruled that the RFRA is not a proper exercise of Congress’s enforcement power.
      If the federal government was found to not be able to force this law on the states under the constitution, how exactly is it legal for a state to force it on to its citizens?

    • commented 2015-03-28 02:01:38 -0400
      I can’t help but to think that this sorta sets a potentially dangerous precedent for businesses to basically punish governments for passing policy that they don’t like.

    • commented 2015-03-27 23:42:56 -0400
      Well said Richard Carter. I agree the move is foolhardy on the part of Marc Benioff, as well as irresponsible. And as far as representation for all, Michael Trudeau, I can relate. I feel as though I have been without representation from the office of president for over 6 years and counting. Not good considering that Pres O holds the highest office in America. I too would like to be represented. Seems reasonable and fair to me.

    • commented 2015-03-27 23:24:44 -0400
      A gay person and a straight person walk into a resturant in Indiana to talk about work while at lunch. They let the straight guy eat but kick out the gay guy. Are the freedoms of the straight guy now limited? If they assume the straight guy is also gay, can he then sue for discrimination if he is also kicked out?
      Mr. Terhune can justify his beliefs by saying that Clinton signed the federal law it is modeled after. So by him using that argument, he is saying he wants to turn back social progress 25 years.
      Laws like these are easily challenged in court because they inherently give people the right to choose when they want to use it or not. Exactly how can a business owner know if a person is gay or not? Some idiot will quickly refuse services to a straight person for thinking they are gay and the straight person will sue. The burden of proof in such a case would fall on the business owner to justify his claim that the customer was a tortfeasor.
      This law and others like it are supported by ignorant politicians who don’t comprehend our legal system.
      The case, Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294 (1964), validated the Civil Rights Act. Equal rights under that Act aren’t guaranteed because it’s illegal to be mean to minorities, they are guaranteed because being mean to minorities disrupts interstate commerce.
      The decision in that case was unanimously decided by the SCOTUS because even though that one resturant in Alabama had almost no overall effect nationally by their discrimination, the fact that overall, their actions could produce ‘pockets’ of the nation where equal treatment isn’t guaranteed would disrupt interstate commerce.
      When you take into account that the SCOTUS cited cases of racial discrimination in their DOMA decision, any national company that does business in or by traveling through Indiana could be harmed in their interstate commerce business by the existence of this law.
      Imagine a truck driver, regional sales rep or even the CEO of Apple being denied services in the state. It creates an undue burden on individuals that the SCOTUS has many times said iseitherdisruptive or unconstitutional.
      It is unfathomable to me how laws like this will ever withstand legal challenges. It’s already a settled legal precident by similarly situated defendants that the underlying reason for this law isn’t valid under the constitution. When laws like this are eventually challenged in the federal courts, equal treatment will be strengthened nationally.
      Give it a few years, equality always wins. In the meantime, Indiana residents can clearly see what businesses they want to frequent and when common sense and the constitution prevails, hopefully the bigots in the state will be forced to close their businesses.
      For any politician reading this, I’ve only been studying to be a Paralegal for 1 1/2 years and if I can see the legal logic and precedent that easily invalidates such a law then either you are incompetent and wasting taxpayer money by trying to justify discrimination or you know this law will eventually be overturned and you wasted taxpayer money to pander for votes. Either way, it kinda makes you a despicable human being.

    • commented 2015-03-27 23:08:32 -0400
      The purpose of these and all the laws like this was exposed in Georgia. When Georgia was debating an identical law, proponents of Georgia’s bill (as did Mike Pence) have tried to argue that it has nothing to do with discrimination. Rep. Mike Jacobs, an LGBT-friendly Republican, decided to test this theory by introducing an amendment that would not allow claims of religious liberty to be used to circumvent state and local nondiscrimination protections. Supporters of the bill, like Rep. Barry Fleming®, countered that the amendment “will gut the bill.” This proves the only purpose of the bill is to circumvent nondiscrimination protections. It serves no other purpose. The amendment was approved. And the sponsors of the bill moved to table the bill, effectively killing it. If they couldn’t use the bill to discriminate, they didn’t want it any more. The purpose of these bills — the only purpose — is bigotry. The only people who support them are bigots. That is the only reason.

    • commented 2015-03-27 22:58:59 -0400
      Richard Carter, the world is moving forward, why aren’t you? Marc Benioff is doing the right thing by standing up for all American citizens. I believe we need more love and tolerance and less of people saying “you’re different, so I don’t have to accept you”. Governor Pense is just trying to create a legacy for himself before he’s relieved of his duties. Oh, and by the way Mr. Pense, you are the highest ranking official of ALL of the people of Indiana, not just your loyalists.

    • commented 2015-03-27 22:34:46 -0400
      I have been considering both ACT and Sales Force as our contact management software. Now that Sales Force has exposed their own arrogance and self-righteous hypocrisy, my decision in favor of ACT has become obvious. Reverse bigots like Marc Benioff actually believe they have the right to jettison our traditional values and punish bedrock Americana. In this clash of cultures, Sales Force is the perverted party—not the majority of conservative Americans who still hold Christian values.

    • commented 2015-03-27 17:39:27 -0400
      “You may lose a few dollars but you will gain the respect and gratitude of a nation”

      No, what you will have is the nation looking at your as the bigoted extremist you are. Kinda reminds me of ISIS. I hope the NFL follows the NCAA and every other sport venue, too. When the tourist dollars and convention dollars stop, your tax base will feel the pain. Burn, baby, burn.

    • commented 2015-03-27 13:58:36 -0400
      Fine Mr. Terune – you support THIS bigoted Indiana law. Why try to detract from that be making it “seem like” it’s the same as some other law? Answer: This Indiana Law is very very different. You know it. You’re ashamed of that fact and, like most repubicans, you’re a lying bigot. Fine. It’s okay with me if you’re a bigot … just own it. Be Proud of your backward ignorance, dont’ hide behind some veil that claims this aweful Indiana law is something less disgusting than it is. It’s just good old fashioned Jim Crow bigortry, as plan as that hood you’re probably wearing.

    • commented 2015-03-27 13:08:16 -0400
      I support this law as much as President Clinton and the Congress that passed the federal RFRA supported that law. I’m with President Clinton on this issue.

    • commented 2015-03-27 13:02:11 -0400
      Mr. Terhune, if you support this law – you’re a bigoted dumbass. Trying to blame anyone other than the current hateful version of the republican party is BS. Trying to parse your own hateful words in support of this moronic law is BS. Do you support this law?

    • commented 2015-03-27 12:54:25 -0400
      Mr. Beal, I don’t see where I mentioned Obama anywhere. BTW, the federal RFRA, which the Indiana law is modeled after, passed unanimously in the House and with only 3 dissents in the Senate, about as bi-partisan as you can get. You might want to inquire of President Clinton why he signed it.

    • commented 2015-03-27 12:41:40 -0400
      Right wing Christian Fubdamentalism……thank God I live in Canada!!!! We are accepted here and it is a Federal Law!!!!!!

    • commented 2015-03-27 12:33:52 -0400
      HA! I wondered how long it would take for some republican to blame President Obama for this! Morons. Too damn funny!

    • commented 2015-03-27 12:27:24 -0400
      I wonder if he’s aware that a Democratic Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 which applies to all federal legislation, including Obamacare. It was on the basis of that act that Hobby Lobby prevailed in the Supreme Court.

    • commented 2015-03-27 11:14:08 -0400
      If everyone in the state that owned a business shared these values… they could deny LGBT people the right to buy any service. With such it would then become possible to deny LGBT members the right to shop for food, and even buy water from the city. So essentially if everyone banned together, the state could literally, force starve and dehydrate all LGBT members… no matter how much money they have to buy the necessities for life. Essentially in the state of Indiana it is possible to deny someone the right to life. I live here, I have a best friend that is gay, this is utterly ridiculous. My sister has a gay friend as well, he buys medicine for his grandma, that pharmacy if they want can deny him the right to service which not only would hurt him but deny’s his grandma who cannot get there, the right to medication and her health. . Sentencing people to die, is not religious freedom, is religious abuse. Also if it was really about Christian morals they would also be denying people who fornicate.. which in the bible.. is one of the worst acts with adultery, idolatry and homosexual ACTS, not being gay but ACTS. So then why are they not banning those? That is right because most of the population practices one of the others and they would have no customers. So then they are not doing it on biblical moral principles, but just because they want gays/ other LBT members to suffer. Has nothing to do with biblical principles… because again.. they would enforce the other ones as well.

    • commented 2015-03-27 10:14:20 -0400
      Jim Crow is alive and well in Indiana. Don’t think for a minute that Hoosier redneck won’t use this same law to refuse to someone, based on an owner’s racist “beliefs” because a customer is 1)Black, 2)Latino 3)Jewish, 4)Disabled, etc.. It’s probably already happened. Education is a long slow process we must work at – but bigotry and hatred, they spread like wildfire.

    • commented 2015-03-27 09:53:54 -0400
      Lots of ignorance in these posts. lets try to educate some folks, (just a little, it won’t hurt much).
      Your right of freedom of association does not extend to running a public business. By definition a public business is “open to the PUBLIC”. South Carolina has a similar law being used by at least one business owner to exclude Black people based on his “Beliefs”. Hate is hate. You put lipstick on that pig, it’s still a pig.
      As for boycotts not working, I would invite you to read your history of the united farm workers, Cesar Chavez, and the California Grape boycott.
      When Indiana starts to feel the pinch in the tax base, both corporate and private, (the LGBT segment of the population tends to earn at higher than the national average). When the stupid comes home to roost. Well, it will be a bit late to close that particular barn door then, them horses will have found more, lets just call them “more welcoming” pastures.

    • commented 2015-03-27 08:51:47 -0400
      let em take there money elsewhere… this is not about religious freedom it is about the Constitutional right to freedom of association…. Why can a potential employee refuse to work for a white person or a catholic or a gay and a any gay black white or muslim can refuse to “employ” any business to work for it based on their beliefs but a business or individual businessman has to kiss anybody’s ass that comes to work for them or hire them? Where is HIS equal protection under the law and where is his constitutional right to freedom or association (which by default means the freedom to not associate)?

      Let them go with their attitude and the economy will recover as people realize that there is somewhere that respects Constitutional rights.

    • commented 2015-03-27 00:31:32 -0400
      Money can indeed buy any politician. But you have to look where the money goes. The money that is pulling out of the state is not the money that finances his campaign or goes into his pocket. That is the money he follows.

    • commented 2015-03-27 00:01:04 -0400
      I thought money could literally buy anything or at least any politician. I stand corrected.

    • commented 2015-03-26 23:39:34 -0400
      Good job, at least some companies still know
      the difference between right and wrong.
      Live long and prosper.

    • commented 2015-03-26 22:58:44 -0400
      Your Always welcomed to come to Pennsylvania!!

    • commented 2015-03-26 21:34:08 -0400
      According to Wikipedia, it’s a $40 Billiton company. Not just $4 Billion.

    • commented 2015-03-26 21:30:33 -0400
      @thepundit View wrote, “I will be curious to see how the stockholders react to such capricious behavior. How ironic if the board decides to have him removed.”

      Hee hee – Not bloody likely, friend. Take a look at their 10-year stock price history. I suspect the shareholders are quite happy with his performance, thank you very much.

    • commented 2015-03-26 20:49:42 -0400
      The American Christian Taliban fails to realize that they do not rule the earth, nor do they control the people. We have always known that religious people tend to have lower IQs and much less education than their non-religious counterparts, but this legislation is nothing but a further demonstration of their extreme ignorance. (The main demonstration is believing their “god” fantasy.)

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