Tomorrow's Indianapolis Star
Only bold action — action that sends an unmistakable message to the world that our state will not tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens — will be enough to reverse the damage. Gov. Mike Pence and the General Assembly need to enact a state law to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, education and public accommodations on the basis of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Those protections and RFRA can co-exist. They do elsewhere.
Laws protecting sexual orientation and gender identity are not foreign to Indiana. Indianapolis, for example, has had those legal protections in place for nearly a decade. Indy's law applies to businesses with more than six employees, and exempts religious organizations and non-profit groups.
The city's human rights ordinance provides strong legal protection — and peace of mind —for LGBT citizens; yet, it has not placed an undue burden on businesses. Importantly, passage of a state human rights law would send a clear message that Indiana will not tolerate discrimination. It's crucial for that message to be communicated widely.