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Angie's List CEO Resigns, Announces Plans to Re-Enter Politics to Fix Indiana's 'Badly Damaged' Reputation

Angie's list

Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle has announced he is stepping down as CEO and will re-enter politics in an effort to help fix Indiana's "badly damaged" reputation following the firestorm over the state's "religious freedom" law.

OesterleOesterle, a Republican and former supporter of Gov. Mike Pence, was one of the first major Indiana-based business leaders to join the corporate backlash against the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. He was also one of the first (and remains one of the few) business leaders to reject the so-called "fix" to the state's law, calling it "insufficient" to prevent discrimination against LGBT individuals. 

The Indianapolis Star reports:

Indiana's public image "took a shellacking" after passage of RFRA spurred widespread criticism from gay rights groups, much of the business community and others, Oesterle said. "Indiana was under significant duress and went through a heartbreaking situation."

Oesterle's announcement amounts to "an announcement of trying to unseat a governor," said Andy Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics. "If you think about the individual positions that could have made a difference about this (RFRA), that's only one, that's the governor."

"That is somebody who is saying either he is running for governor or is looking for somebody to run for governor," Downs said of Oesterle.

Oesterle, a West Lafayette native and former trustee at Purdue University, said he hasn't decided whether he wants to run as a candidate or support someone else. In 2004, Oesterle took a leave from Angie's to manage [two-term Gov. Mitch] Daniels' first campaign, which raised a record $18 million for an Indiana gubernatorial race and unseated a sitting governor, Democrat Joe Kernan.

Gov. Pence is up for reelection in 2016.

Read the Angie's List press release announcing Oesterle's departure, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Indiana House GOP Rejects LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill; Pence Claims 'Difficult Time' for State is Over

A bill that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to Indiana's civil rights law in education, employment, and housing was rejected by House Republicans yesterday, the AP reports.

M_penceIn related news, Governor Mike Pence declared the Religious Freedom Restoration Act controversy to be over, the Indy Star reports:

"I think the difficult time that Indiana just passed through two weeks ago is behind us," Pence told reporters.

His comments came just one day after his administration hired a global public relations company to help repair the state's damaged reputation. The state plans to pay the firm, Porter Novelli, at least $2 million.

"We've got a great story to tell," Pence said when asked about his decision to hire the PR firm. "I really do believe that we are through the storm, that now's the time to heal."

However, Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson has proposed an amendment to the state budget that was also shot down 40-10 by Republicans. The amendment "would have created a committee to study the possibility of adding statewide protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity" according to the Indy Star.

House Democrats Introduce Resolution Against LGBT Discrimination


A group of four House Democrats have introduced a resolution "expressing the sense of Congress that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people should be protected from discrimination under the law," Indiana's WIBC reports.

“When intolerance occurs anywhere everyone has an obligation to take a stand and Congress doesn’t get a waiver on that,” House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chair Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) said during a press call Monday, according to The Hill

Israel is joined by Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO), André Carson (D-IN) and David Cicilline (D-RI). Cicilline is currently drafting a comprehensive civil rights bill that he says will "cut through a patchwork of 50 state laws to make sure all LGBT Americans can enjoy their basic rights no matter where they live, work or go to school.” 

CarsonAdded Rep. Carson (right) in a statement:

"Year after year, we see attacks on the LGBT community as governments at all levels look to institutionalize discrimination in the name of religious freedom.  Recently, we witnessed my home state of Indiana enact the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, giving businesses the right to refuse service based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“In the wake of the backlash of Indiana’s misguided law, it is clear that the vast majority of Americans oppose this type of discrimination.  It is long past time for Congress to ensure that all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, know that they are valued members of our society."

Openly Gay Woman Explains Why She Donated to the Indiana Pizzeria That Refused to Cater Same-Sex Weddings: VIDEO


In an interview with conservative radio show The Jeff Adams Show last week, openly gay Southern Californian resident Courtney Hoffman spoke out about her decision to donate to the GoFundMe campaign supporting Memories Pizzeria, the Indiana pizzeria that found itself in the middle of a media firestorm after its owners declared they wouldn't cater same-sex weddings. 

Hoffman, who is a buisness owner herself, wrote the following for the GoFundMe campaign (which ended up raising over $800,000 for Memories Pizzeria):

Hoffman“As a member of the gay community, I would like to apologize for the mean spirited attacks on you and your business. I know many gay individuals who fully support your right to stand up for your beliefs and run your business according to those beliefs. We are outraged at the level of hate and intolerance that has been directed at you and I sincerely hope that you are able to rebuild.”

Hoffman's donation and declaration of support was quickly picked up by right wing outlets such as The Blaze,, and Breitbart. 

"We started hearing all of these threats of violence and these just horrible hate-filled attacks that were thrown out at the pizzeria and it just seemed so vastly different from the gay community that we know," explained Hoffman in the radio interview. “If we can remember that differences don’t equal maliciousness, and try to find what we have in common — you know, the ands instead of the ors, maybe we can move beyond threats of violence and have open discussions of the things that we don’t agree on.”

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Right-wing Editor Claims Today's 'Vilification' of Christians Could Soon Lead to Rwandan-Level Genocide: LISTEN

ZimrakAnti-gay conservatives continue with the persecution complex as columnist John Zmirak has warned that Christians face the same violence as victims of Armenian, Rwandan and Nazi genocide, reports Right Wing Watch.

Zmirak is senior editor of The Stream, a website claiming to be a one-stop outlet for covering all today's major issues from God's perspective.

Speaking on a radio interview earlier this week, Zmirak quite appallingly made the comparisons in a discussion about the owners of Indiana’s Memories Pizza who announced they would not cater for same-sex weddings - and have since received close to $1 million in donations.

“I think this vilification of faithful Christians could lead to violence in America.

“It’s happened so many times before, and all the signs are there that the enemies of Christianity are seeing ‘how much can we get away with?”

He warned that “we’re going to see ourselves reduced to the status of second-class citizens the way Christians are in countries like Egypt and Syria.”


Continue reading "Right-wing Editor Claims Today's 'Vilification' of Christians Could Soon Lead to Rwandan-Level Genocide: LISTEN" »

Focus On The Family Freaks Out Over Religious Freedom, Says Gay Marriage May Lead to New Civil War: VIDEO

FOTF President Tom Minnery and Vice President of Strategy Paul Weber

Anti-gay activist group Focus on the Family (FotF) is getting its knickers in a twist over the backlash against Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

Speaking on FotF mouthpiece CitizenLink, President Tom Minnery (above left) attempted to explain what can be learned from recent events in Indiana.

Minnery explained that the government u-turn to make the law “less efficacious because of the impact from the business community” was “driven by the secular left.”

He helpfully tells us that the #RFRA is not actually discriminatory but allows Christians to “show up in court” to defend their actions - in other words to discriminate and then argue why they should be allowed to. He also voices concern that the law may be unfair to grandmothers.

He continues that Christians in other states considering RFRA laws are on a “battlefield” and should “help potential opponents to understand what the law does, what it doesn’t do...before the newscasts start misinterpreting the law as it did in Indiana.” 

He concludes that Christians who oppose marriage equality are in for a difficult time when the Supreme Court makes its decision in June but warns LGBT activists that they face the wrath of faith-based discrimination when they find out “how much our Christian faith really means to us when its tested.”

Host Stuart Shepard finishes up by asking FotF followers to pray for state lawmakers.

And in a audio clip from Right Wing Watch, FotF founder James Dobson warns that a Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality could lead to a full-blown civil war.

Both clips, AFTER THE JUMP

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