Honey Maid, Banana Republic, NASCAR, and others let LGBT people in Indiana know they've #GotYourBack

Last week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that allows Indiana businesses to legally refuse service to LGBT people on the basis of religion. Since the passing of this law, there have been numerous public accounts speaking out against it, fighting back against the ways in which Gov. Pence has issued the legalization of discrimination. Along with celebrity voices contributing to the discussion of the issue, such as Ashton Kutcher, Miley Cyrus, and Ellen DeGeneres, there have been plenty of well-known companies and corporations expressing their opposition to the new Indiana law.

Yesterday, Gap Inc.'s Banana Republic tweeted their support for equality, telling all LGBT people they've #GotYourBack.

Gap Inc. also published a post on their blog, along with Levi Strauss & Co., encouraging other retail and apparel companies to join them in speaking out against the new legislation. They highlight that the new laws are not only bad for business, but "more importantly, they are fundamentally wrong. They must be stopped." Banana Republic has a positive history of standing up for LGBT equality, as they issued their #BRLove4All campaign when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Prop 8 in 2013.

The new Indiana law has received responses from other major companies in support of diversity and equality, such as Honey Maid. Last year, Honey Maid released a commercial featuring their campaign of "This Is Wholesome" with a variety of families, including interracial, single, and gay parents. Honey Maid has continued this campaign and spoke out against Indiana's bill, letting LGBT people know that they serve everyone.

In addition to these companies, there have also been organized sports groups that have spoken out against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In the midst of March Madness, the NCAA has expressed their commitment to providing an inclusive environment for all of their events. As Indiana is the host of this year's Men's Final Four, the NCAA plans to take the implications of the new law into consideration when making arrangements for future events. Additionally, Connecticut's governor and UConn's athletic director called for the NCAA to consider moving next year's Women's Final Four out of the state of Indiana if the law remains the same.

NASCAR is another sports organization that has a large presence in Indiana. As the oldest speedway in America, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the site of both the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400. In response to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, NASCAR issued a statement making sure all of their fans know they are welcome to all races. NASCAR senior vice president and chief communications officer Brett Jewkes asserted, "We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race."

In an op-ed published by The Washington Post on Sunday, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke out against the new law. Cook says "At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges." Like many of the companies that are publically opposing Indiana's legislation, Apple has a long history of supporting LGBT equality. They were participants in the 2014 San Francisco Pride parade, have a score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, and have been vocal about pushing congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that prohibits companies from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender.

As a counteraction to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indiana resident Josh Diver has started the Open For Service sticker campaign. As a response to the new law, dozens of local companies in Indiana have chosen to make it clear that they serve everyone and do not wish to participate in discrimination of their customers. The goal of Open For Service is to promote businesses that practice acceptance through a network of open-minded organizations, companies, and business owners that are being recognized for doing the right thing. The money earned in this campaign goes to an organization called SCORE, which supports small businesses all across the nation. What began as an Indiana-specific campaign has grown and expanded nationally, including the other states where similar laws are being proposed.

All of these efforts against Indiana's new law speaks greatly to the ways in which our society is recognizing the need for acceptance and equality. By limiting service to their LGBT customers, Indiana business are practicing discrimination and are left standing on the wrong side of history. We need to follow the examples of these companies and organizations that are standing up against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. By speaking out and defending equality, we can #AccelerateAcceptance and let all LGBT know we've #GotYourBack.