Mayor Emanuel Taking Advantage Of Controversial Religious Freedom Law To Lure Jobs From Indiana

Updated: 4:49 p.m.

(CBS) — Mayor Emanuel is taking advantage of the flap over a law seen as anti-gay to launch a raid to lure Indiana companies to Chicago, reports WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore.

Emanuel has sent more than a dozen letters to Indiana companies saying this latest law is a good reason to consider shifting business and even their headquarters to Chicago in what he calls a welcoming place.

Indiana has worked hard to lure some companies away from Chicago and Illinois, so Emanuel taking advantage of the new law that some see as discriminatory seems to be a bit of retribution.

WBBM’s Cisco Cotto reports Republican and Democratic leaders in Indiana had press conferences Monday concerning the state’s new religious freedom law.

Indiana House Democrat Leader Scott Pelath says he has already heard of business leaving Indiana because of the law and he thinks at least some of it may be headed to Chicago.

“Doesn’t surprise me that Mayor Emanuel, who has got a bit of a re-election campaign going on himself right now, would make a pitch for that,” Pelath said. “As a matter of fact, it shouldn’t be surprising.”

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma says it is time for “clarity” regarding whether the bill will actually discriminate against gays and lesbians.

“The answer is no.” Bosma said. “That is not the intent or the design of the bill. The answer is no, it is not the effect of the bill.”

Instead, Bosma says they actually intended the bill to send a message of inclusion of all religious beliefs. He is asking for colleagues to pass a new bill for clarity.

Critics are calling for businesses and organizations to boycott Indiana. They include Apple CEO Tim Cook, who calls the law “very dangerous.”

Chicago-based rock band Wilco has cancelled an upcoming show in Indianapolis to protest the law.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Molloy says he will sign an executive order banning travel to Indiana. Joining the ban are the mayors San Francisco and Seattle. The mayor of Indianapolis has called on the governor to repeal the law.

The law, while similar to Illinois’, gives business owners the right to exercise religious freedom but what the Illinois law includes that Indiana’s does not is a statue “barring discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

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