Center for American Progress

RELEASE: States Considering Discriminatory RFRAs Courting Big Economic Losses
Press Release

RELEASE: States Considering Discriminatory RFRAs Courting Big Economic Losses

Press Contacts

  • Tom Caiazza

Washington, D.C. — A column released today by the Center for American Progress demonstrates that Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, or RFRAs, have significant financial and business impacts on the states that implement, or even attempt to implement, them. Portrayed as an attempt to combat the nonexistent threat to religious freedom that proponents claim recent Supreme Court decisions create, these laws are designed to legalize and sanction discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“When a state debates or implements a law designed to sanction discrimination against LGBT citizens they put more than their state’s reputation in danger. They also risk losing jobs, revenue, and benefits for communities still struggling to recover from the economic recession,” said Sarah McBride, Campaigns and Communications Manager for LGBT Progress at the Center for American Progress and author of the column. “The lesson from states such as Indiana, which put at risk more than $250 million in economic activity when it passed its RFRA last year, is that the best way to grow your economy is to make clear that it includes all people. While estimates of negative economic consequences vary, one thing is clear: Overly broad RFRAs are not only discriminatory, but they are also bad for business.”

Indiana is not the only place where negative economic impacts would come from an RFRA. Two leading business groups in Georgia estimate that passage of current state legislation could cost the Atlanta region between $1 billion to $2 billion in lost economic activity. National and international companies such as Apple, Target, Amazon, Walmart, Facebook, and General Electric are among the major companies—and a growing bevy of small businesses—that have been vocal opponents of RFRAs and are adopting inclusive nondiscrimination policies within their own companies.

Click here to read the column.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at tcaiazza@americanprogress.org or 202.481.7141.