February 4, 2016

House Democrats Say They Won't Let LGBT Rights Debate Die

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says Democrats won’t give up on the issue of LGBT rights. - file photo

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says Democrats won’t give up on the issue of LGBT rights.

file photo

INDIANAPOLIS -- House Democrats say they won’t let the LGBT rights debate die this session.

Senate Bill 344, aimed to protect lesbian, gay and bisexual Hoosiers from discrimination, failed to advance out of the Senate before the session’s first half deadline. Republican leaders said they couldn’t muster enough support for the measure.  

But House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says Democrats won’t give up on the issue, using whatever methods they can.

“There is going to be a talk over here in the House of Representatives, even if the leaders of this chamber are uncomfortable with the discussion,” Pelath said.

That effort could involve Democrats trying to amend LGBT rights into another bill.  But generally speaking, amendments must be what’s called “germane” to be included – meaning the subject matters must be similar.  Speaker Brian Bosma says he doesn’t think such a bill exists.

“A major change in our civil rights code that’s highly controversial, as depicted by the discussion surrounding 344…it’s really not appropriate subject matter to try to do on the fly in a second reading amendment,” Bosma said.

On the Democrats’ side, Pelath says he hasn’t yet identified which bills his caucus will target for such an amendment.

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