NewsPublic Affairs / August 30, 2016

Lawmakers Hear From Both Sides Of LGBT Rights Debate

A legislative study committee panel heard from both sides of the LGBT rights debate Tuesday.  - file photo

A legislative study committee panel heard from both sides of the LGBT rights debate Tuesday.

file photo

Hoosiers on both sides of the LGBT rights debate got their say before a panel of lawmakers Tuesday. It was the latest step in the ongoing legislative discussion.

For those who’ve followed Indiana’s LGBT rights debate over the last year and a half, Tuesday’s hearing yielded nothing new. Many who testified have testified before. Supporting LGBT rights were faith leaders, LGBT Hoosiers and their families, and business leaders.

Lane Bannister is a trans Hoosier who works with LGBT youth at the Indiana Youth Group. He says he’s lost too many people in his community – which has a suicide rate four times higher than the straight population.

“And my heart breaks for the struggles that my youth face daily," Bannister says. "You have the power to protect them and you can show them that Indiana cares for them and that they belong here.”

On the other side were mostly individuals, many professing a religious background. Janet Smith wonders why the LGBT community, which makes up about three percent of the population, should get what she calls “special privileges.”

“When the other 97 percent of us have to kowtow and do everything that they tell us to do,” smith says.

Study committee leaders did not indicate whether the committee will produce a legislative recommendation on LGBT rights ahead of next session.

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