Angie’s List ‘delays’ plans for expansion in Indianapolis, Seattle mayor bans city employees from traveling to Indiana


The fallout over Indiana’s new “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” continues, with Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle announcing today (Saturday, March 28) that his company is canceling plans for a $40 million expansion in Indianapolis because of the law.

According to, Angie’s List has been headquartered in Indianapolis since it was founded in 1995. The corporation, worth $315 million, had planned to move its headquarters across town, adding 1,000 new jobs over five years.

In a statement released Saturday, Oesterle said the company’s expansion is “on hold until we fully understand the implications [of the RFRA] on our employees, both current and future.” Oesterle also said that the company “is open to all and discriminates against none and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents.”

The statement said Angie’s List will “begin reviewing alternatives,” and the IndyStar reported that the company has “hinted that moving some parts of the company out of state is ‘on the table.’”

The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law Thursday, March 26, by Republican Gov. Mike Pence, prevents state and local governments from “substantially burdening” a person’s exercise of religion unless a “compelling governmental interest” can be proved.

Although Pence and other supporters insist — at least publicly — that the new law is not intended to discriminate against anyone, most opponents believe it was passed specifically in response to recent court rulings in favor of marriage equality to allow people to refuse to serve LGBT people. Others have pointed out the law could also be used to discriminate against people for a broad range of reasons, including race and religion.

It is modeled after the 22-year-old federal RFRA that the U.S. Supreme Court cited last year in a ruling allowing Hobby Lobby and other “closely held” corporations with religious objections to opt out of an Affordable Care Act requirement that they cover certain contraceptives for women.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has barred Seattle city employees from using tax dollars to pay for business trips to Indiana, following in the steps of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. Also among those joining the growing negative response are Apple, Inc., the White House, Broadway’s Audra McDonald, $4 billion software firm Salesforce, $50 million annual gaming convention GenCon, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Fortune 500 member Cummins, Eskenazi Health, Eli Lilly and Co., Yelp, Hillary Clinton, George Takei, Pat McAfee, Jason Collins, Ashton Kutcher, Miley Cyrus, James Van Der Beek, Sophia Bush, Dustin Lance Black, Mara Wilson, Jack Antonoff, the mayor of Indianapolis, and the state of Indiana’s own tourism board.


—  Tammye Nash

Fort Worth, El Paso have fewest same-sex couples among largest cities


Fort Worth ranks 49th out of the 50 largest cities in percent of same-sex couples

New data released by the Census Bureau indicates two Texas cities — El Paso and Fort Worth — have the lowest percentage of same-sex couples among the 50 largest cities in the U.S.

Fort Worth came in No. 49 with just 0.26 percent of couples who are gay or lesbian, and El Paso is No. 50 with 0.25 percent of couples.

Colorado Springs, home of anti-gay hate groups such as Focus on the Family, is No. 48.

In the top spot is Seattle with 2.6 percent of couples gay or lesbian. Seattle edged out San Francisco with 2.5 percent. Minneapolis is third with 2.4 percent. All three of those cities are in marriage-equality states.

Despite having a lower concentration of gay and lesbian couples, El Paso has a pansexual state representative and Fort Worth has a gay city councilman.

In the latest census, Arlington ranked 50th largest city in the U.S. and has a higher percentage of same-sex couples than Fort Worth.

To be counted as gay couples, two people of the same sex had to report that they were married or an unmarried partner.

—  David Taffet

Toasting Equality in Seattle

Last week over 250 attendees were on hand at Equal Rights Washington’s breakfast event, “Toasting Equality.”

In addition to celebrating Washington state’s first open lesbian state legislator, Laurie Jinkins, the crowd heard from openly gay state Senator Ed Murray –  the leading force behind many of Washington state’s LGBT legislative successes – Josh Friedes, Executive Director of Equal Rights Washington, and me about the effort to win marriage equality in Washington state in the next two years.

After the meeting, I sat down with openly gay King County Councilmember Joe McDermott  and faith leaders who support marriage equality to discuss their key role in this effort.

While I was impressed with the turnout for a 7:30am meeting, I was moved by learning of the years of dedication by so many in the Seattle/Tacoma area to the ongoing fight for equality.  I was humbled by their tenacity and their feeling of duty to do the long, unglamorous work that is needed to bring change.

While beautiful Seattle may be cloudy and rainy, the spirit of its people shines bright.  I look forward to returning soon to this Emerald City.  It’s a gem indeed.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

You Decide: Which films should I cover at the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival?

The Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival has graciously bestowed a press pass upon yours truly.  I am so excited, but also a little overwhelmed.  I mean just look at this schedule (pdf).  Between October 15th and 24th over 150 films and shorts will be screening in concurrent sessions at two different theaters.  I think this is what is called an embarrassment of riches.

So Blend readers, I need your help!  Look over the schedule, check out the film descriptions then drop your vote in the comments as to which films you think I shouldn’t miss.  And let me know which category your recommendation falls into:

A.  Seen it, it’s a slice of heaven and you simply must not miss the chance.

B.  Haven’t seen it but it looks so compelling that I’m checking out round-trip fares to Seattle.

C.  The audience will be as much a part of the experience as the film.

D.  Ooh lala lalalalala.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

President didn’t call wavering Senators today, but did reach the WNBA Champion Seattle Storm

I got two emails this afternoon that, unfortunately, complement each other perfectly. The first was from someone who watches the DC political game pretty closely:

What’s even more outrageous is that two Democrats joined the Republican filibuster. Lincoln and Pryor are shameful. But what’s more shameful is that I strongly doubt Pres. Obama even lifted a finger to call moderate Republicans or Democrats (like Lincoln and Pryor) to push them to vote to protect our troops and protect equality. The Republicans once again have seized the debate, in part by pressuring their moderate members to reverse stance. Too bad that Democratic leaders don’t ever pressure their own in the same way.

So, no lobbying whatsoever from Obama on the Defense Authorization bill that’s being filibustered while we’re engaged in two wars.

Obama must have been really busy, right? Oh, he was working the phones today. I got this via email, too:

Earlier today, President Obama called members of the Seattle Storm organization, to congratulate them on winning the WNBA Finals for the second time, on their success during the regular season and their undefeated run in the playoffs. The President told them that they are an inspiration to everyone, especially his daughters. Members of the Storm organization on the call told the President that they appreciated his call and that it was a highlight for their organization. President Obama said he looks forward to congratulating them in person at the White House.

He does loves his sports talk. And, the Seattle Storm’s championship warrants Presidential recognition.

But, that the White House thinks this is just business as usual is what’s extremely problematic. And, it would have been nice to get an email with a readout of the President’s calls to target Senators. But, that didn’t happen.


—  John Wright

The Seattle Times models heterosexual privilege

Whenever someone says in the same sentence “I support LGBT equality” and “I’ll vote for the anti-equality bigot anyway”, I know I’m dealing with a bad case of heterosexual privilege.  The Seattle Times, which has consistently editorialized in favor of LGBT equality in the past, has just endorsed raging homophobe Jim Johnson for reelection to the Washington state Supreme Court.

You will recall that Johnson is the Washington Supreme Court justice who likened marriage equality to polygamy and wrote on the “unique and binary biological nature of marriage and its exclusive link with procreation and responsible child rearing” in his venomous anti-gay judgment upholding the state’s DOMA law.  While on the Supreme Court Johnson has also voted consistently in favor of Big Tobacco and his financial backers, the Building Industry Association of Washington as well as voted anti-environment and anti-tribal rights.

In their endorsement, the Seattle Times Editorial Board admits that Johnson used erroneous reasoning when he ruled to uphold WA’s DOMA, saying “Johnson argued that it was not the court’s business to change the traditional definition of marriage.” Yet they endorse his reelection, saying he’s “top-notch”.  This makes no sense whatsoever unless viewed through the lens of privilege.  Only people secure in the enjoyment of their own civil rights would dream of shrugging off such an egregious attack on the civil rights of others, then go the extra mile of promoting the culprit.

Vote for Stan Rumbaugh, who is running to replace Johnson.  Because Stan Rumbaugh is Johnson’s only challenger, the race will be won or lost in the August 17, 2010 primary.  You can still register to vote in the primary by showing up in person at your county elections office.  Deadline is Aug 9th.  Please help get the word out about Stan Rumbaugh by joining Rumbaugh on Facebook or making a donation to the Equal Rights Washington Political Action Committee, whose top priority is electing fair and impartial judges and pro-equality legislators.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

From MSNBC: 'Not gay enough for softball team?'

MSNBC reported today that three California men are suing the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance in Seattle after they were “deemed not gay enough to play for a gay softball team during the Gay Softball World Series.”

They filed the suit online rpgчастота запросов

—  Rich Lopez