Southern University College of Business E-Journal


Twenty states have now passed religious freedom laws to protect religious practices and beliefs. While many individuals and groups believe these laws are necessary to protect them from government intervention that may take away their rights, there are others who fear that these laws can be used by businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community in the name of religion. In a recent case in Indiana, several large corporations voiced their dissent over the state’s impending religious freedom law, causing the Governor to sign a new version of the bill. The purpose of this paper is to determine how these religious freedom laws have affected employment, small-minority-owned businesses and minority populations. Using regression analysis it was found that county employment was not affected by these state laws but there were fewer Asian firms and fewer Hispanics in counties in states with these laws. Moreover, the African American population was larger in counties in states with such laws. To overcome the negative views and opinions associated with religious freedom laws, states with those laws may also need to pass laws that ban discrimination against the LGBT community.