By: Mark Glennon*
Think what you want of the merits of Indiana’s new religious freedom law — that’s your business. And never mind that 19 other states, including Illinois, have laws arguably similar. This much is looking very clear: Illinois just got an early Easter egg.
Illinois wins from Indiana’s new law because the business community is gushing scorn on it, fairly or not, with some businesses threatening boycotts. Stories about that are popping up so fast as I write this that there’s no need to offer examples.
Indiana recently dropped its “Illinoyed” campaign to lure Illinois employers. It’s fair conjecture that they dropped it, at least in part, in light of reforms the new Rauner administration is bringing to Illinois.
They should have looked at us more closely. They also would have seen that “no social agenda” was a winner for Rauner in the election, and that “no social agenda” unquestionably is how he is governing. They’ve been beating us by many measures of attractiveness for employers, but they should have known they were chalking one up for Illinois by passing a law so controversial.
But Illinois and many other states have the same law, says the Washington Post and others. Not true, it’s different here, says the Chicago Tribune and still others. It won’t matter who is right on that. It’s just another issue that flairs tempers and only proves the point, which is merely that social issues inflame controversy, and employers don’t want controversy. Throwing a hot potato to somebody else may still leave your burned.
The moral debate may continue, but economic development officers surely are watching. If their opinions are asked the next time a city or state considers a social issue, expect them to say, “please, no social agenda.”
*Mark Glennon is founder of WirePoints. Opinions expressed are his own.