Main | Thursday, April 02, 2015

INDIANA: GOP Lawmakers Add LGBT Non-Discrimination Language To RFRA

Via the Indianapolis Star:
Indiana Republicans said Thursday morning that they are presenting an addition to the controversial RFRA legislation that will make it clear no one will "be able to discriminate against anyone at any time." Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, and House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis said at a press conference at the Statehouse that leaders will present the proposal to lawmakers at 9:30 a.m. after speaking with corporate and civic leadership this week. "Hoosier hospitality had to be restored," Bosma said.

The leaders referenced the intense backlash that rained down on Indiana after Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill last week. "It was never intended to discriminate against anyone," Long said. "That perception led to the national protests we've seen." Former Indianapolis mayor and Democrat Bart Peterson said the words "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" will appear in state law in context of anti-discrimination for first time. "The healing needs to begin right now," said Peterson, an Eli Lilly and Co. executive.
Lambda Legal sent this press release this morning:
This bill reduces the threat but is far less than this situation requires. It recognizes there are problems, but does not fix it as LGBT Hoosiers and others urgently need. Now that there's broad public understanding that gay and transgender people in much of Indiana are terribly vulnerable to arbitrary discrimination by businesses, refusal of housing, and being fired just for being who they are--and even Gov. Pence has agreed that that is wrong—that unacceptable situation requires a full solution. We've provided multiple options of straightforward bill language. This is not a complicated or novel task. Many states have done it with only positive results economically and socially. The time is now. America is watching.

Indiana's RFRA is an ill-conceived law that invites religiously motivated refusals to comply with laws that protect everyone. The state’s elected leadership today has taken one step to reduce these refusal problems by amending the RFRA to ensure compliance with civil rights laws. Now they need to complete the fix by actually providing those basic protections that LGBT people need to be equal and safe in the Hoosier State, and by further amending RFRA to prevent it from being used to excuse any harm to other people.
UPDATE: GOP lawmakers speak about the changes.

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