Indiana Senate Committee Advances Unacceptable, Exclusionary BillBy Adam Polaski • January 27, 2016 • 10:52 pm
Today Indiana lawmakers spoke for hours about LGBT discrimination – beginning the day with three deeply flawed bills. In the morning, a Senate committee essentially defeated one bill that had become known as a “Super RFRA,” but in a later hearing – even after hours of testimony from clergy, business leaders and everyday Hoosiers in support of comprehensive non-discrimination – the Indiana Senate Rules Committee moved Senate Bill 344 to the entire Senate. The third bill, S.B. 100, also did not advance.
Senate Bill 344 contains several extremely problematic exemptions and omissions – most notably, the absence of any protections for transgender Hoosiers.
The committee adopted several disturbing amendments to S.B. 344, including one that would exempt adoption agencies from providing services for LGBT individuals, another that would allow adult shelters, food kitchens and hospitals to turn away vulnerable LGBT Hoosiers if one of the organization’s primary purposes is to offer religious centered programs, and exclusions for organizations with state contracts.
Matt McTighe, Executive Director of Freedom for All Americans, said today:
“Senate Bill 344 must be amended to ensure all Hoosiers, including transgender Hoosiers, are protected from discrimination. It is completely unacceptable in its current form. We will continue working alongside the business community and folks from all walks of life to amend the bill and prove that Indiana is open and welcoming to all.
Indiana has a long way to go before it’s truly open and welcoming to all. Until everyone is protected from discrimination, including LGBT Hoosiers, the state’s reputation will continue to suffer.”
Freedom for All Americans is proud to be working on the ground and alongside our state partners at two coalitions of which we are leading partners, Freedom Indiana and Indiana Competes.
Campaign Manager for Chris Paulsen of Freedom Indiana said today:
Lawmakers still aren’t listening. Tonight, they took a bad bill and made it worse for LGBT people in our state who have to live each day in fear that they could be fired, denied housing or turned away from a public place for who they are.
And Peter Hanscom, campaign manager of Indiana Competes, a coalition of businesses from across the state who support LGBT non-discrimination protections, added:
“The Hoosier business community has said from the beginning that Indiana must be a place that welcomes all, not most. We respect the legislative process and will continue to work with the General Assembly, but we will not support a final bill that does not provide for equal rights for the entire LGBT community.