Angie's List CEO resigns after Indiana RFRA controversy, says he wants to pursue activism

Demonstrators gather at Monument Circle in Indianapolis to protest a controversial religious freedom bill recently signed by Governor Mike Pence.Reuters

Angie's List co-founder and chief executive officer Bill Oesterle has resigned from his position just weeks after his company spoke out against the controversial Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act or RFRA.

According to USA Today, Mr. Oesterle said that he is interested in becoming more civically involved in the state of Indiana as opposed to managing a corporation.

"I have decided to step down as chief executive officer to pursue other interests, including becoming more civically involved in the State of Indiana," USA Today quoted an internal message circulated among Angie's List employees.

Oesterle said in an interview at that the religious freedom debate coincided with some inner reflecting on what he might do for "the rest of his life."

"So I came to just the obvious realisation that you have to pick," Oesterle explained.

"You have to be a public company CEO or you can go work on political and social issues. You can't do both."

Angie's List, which is based in Indianapolis and provides paid subscribers with product and services reviews, was one of the major corporations that opposed the controversial RFRA, which was signed into law by Governor Mike Pence on March 27 and amended amid backlash on April 2.

The RFRA aimed to prevent the government from substantially burdening a person's religious freedom by prohibiting lawsuits that could result from conducting businesses according to the religious beliefs.

The RFRA defined "person" as not only an individual person, but also businesses, organisations and corporations as well.

The passage of the RFRA caused uproar and caught national attention after opponents protested out of fear that it would encourage discrimination against the LGBT community. It was amended on April 2 to include an anti-discrimination provision.

Oesterle's position during the controvery was criticised by Family Research Council leader Tony Perkins, who accused him in a statement of jumping into the left wing's "misinformation bandwagon" and abusing his corporate leverage to fight against religious liberty.