It’s been a decade since Indianapolis put protections for gays and lesbians in its Human Rights Ordinance and city leaders are marking the anniversary as a way to put pressure on state politicians to extend the protections state-wide.
Bart Peterson, the Democratic mayor who signed the bill, was joined by current Mayor Greg Ballard and Mayor-elect Joe Hogsett at a Friday morning ceremony.
Peterson said the state is at a point to make the same progress Indianapolis did 10 years ago "and change may still make us nervous, but Indianapolis has demonstrated we need not fear negative consequences," he said.
Mayor Ballard, a Republican, openly voiced opposition to a religious freedom law the state legislature enacted this past spring. He said the city’s ordinance gives residents and visitors a promise they can live their lives openly.
"For 10 years Indianapolis has shown that this promise of equal treatment under the law can co-exist with all of the other freedoms that we hold dear," Ballard said.
Adding LGBT protections into state law is expected to be a major debate point of the upcoming legislative session. Republican Gov. Mike Pence told reporters this week he plans to make his opinions on the matter known in the coming weeks.
Mayor-elect Hogsett says he plans on picking up the torch of making Indianapolis a welcoming city for all. "Let us love our neighbors as we love our city," he said.