Indiana Service Providers Call on U.S. Senators to Pass the Equality Act

February 1, 2022 • 8:56 am

25+ Indiana service providers sign letter calling on Sens. Young and Braun to support federal LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections

INDIANAPOLIS – Today, a coalition of more than 25 human service providers across Indiana released a letter urging Senators Todd Young and Mike Braun to support the Equality Act, a federal law that would modernize civil rights law by including explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people. 

“As community members and service providers committed to supporting vulnerable Hoosiers, we see the effects of discrimination against LGBTQ people every day through our work,” the letter said.

“Here in Indiana, LGBTQ people are disproportionately impacted by homelessness and more likely to endure discrimination and harassment that extends their homelessness,” said Chelsea Haring-Cozzi, executive director of the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention. “The Equality Act would provide vital, life-saving protections and help ensure that LGBTQ people can access shelters, food pantries or medical services free from discrimination or harassment.”

“At HVAF of Indiana, we work to end homelessness among veterans. Passage of federal protections is important for our mission as many of our LGBTQ veterans remain at a higher risk of housing instability and food insecurity because our state lacks LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections,” said Emmy Hildebrand, chief executive officer of HVAF of Indiana. “I hope our senators will join our efforts to help end veteran homelessness by passing a federal law to protect all of those who have defended our nation’s freedom and the more than 13 million LGBTQ people across the country.”

The Equality Act, passed by the House and currently awaiting a vote in the Senate, would help level the playing field for everyone, guaranteeing that LGBTQ people are extended the same federal protections that others in the United States have enjoyed for decades, as well as improve protections for women, people of color, and people of all faiths.

“As the state coalition for domestic violence programs in Indiana, we know that inequality is a root cause of gender violence and continues to disproportionately harm women and LGBTQ people,” said Laura Berry, executive director of Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Failing to protect people from discrimination, violence, and harassment goes against our values and hurts us all. Preventing domestic violence begins with communities that create a foundation for growth, support and trust. The Equality Act will help ensure that every Hoosier can live free from discrimination and sexual harassment in every area of life.”

Currently, 29 states – including Indiana – do not have explicit state laws to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. Indiana is home to an estimated 272,00 LGBTQ people, and 165,000 LGBTQ workers. Without federal protections, LGBTQ Hoosiers remain vulnerable in housing, health care, public spaces like restaurants and businesses, and government services simply because of who they are. According to a national study, more than 1 in 3 LGBTQ people reported experiencing discrimination in their personal lives.

This letter from service providers is the most recent effort by Hoosiers calling on Senators Young and Braun to support permanent federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. Earlier this year, more than 135 businesses and over 100 faith leaders sent letters expressing the urgent need to pass the Equality Act.

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