NewsPublic Affairs / January 28, 2016

Neither Side Of LGBT Rights Debate Completely Satisfied With Legislation

A Senate committee Wednesday approved a bill that aims to balance protections for gay, lesbian and bisexual Hoosiers and people faith. But, those testifying in complete support of the measure were few and far between.Religious Freedom Restoration Act, RFRA, LGBT, Indiana Senate, LGBT civil rights2016-01-28T00:00:00-05:00
Neither Side Of LGBT Rights Debate Completely Satisfied With Legislation

Supporters and protestors gather outside the Senate Chamber during a hearing on bills concerning LGBT civil rights and religious freedom in front of the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016.

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

INDIANAPOLIS -- A Senate committee Wednesday approved a bill that aims to balance protections for gay, lesbian and bisexual Hoosiers and people faith.  But, those testifying in complete support of the measure were few and far between.

The proposed bill would codify protections from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but not gender identity.  It would not apply to small businesses, religious organizations, adoption agencies, and nonprofits that do religious work. Still, that doesn’t satisfy people like Barronelle Stutzman, a Washington state florist who was sued after she refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding.

“You’ll be sending a message to the citizens of Indiana that share my beliefs about marriage that they will not be tolerated," Stutzman said. "They will be threatened, dragged into court, sued and lose their business.”

The bill does create a summer study committee on gender identity issues.  But that’s not good enough for Rhiannon Carlson, a transgender Hoosier veteran.

“The bills, as they are written right now, are shameful and, frankly, cowardly," Carlson said. "They placate a few people who refuse to understand that we live in a pluralistic society.”

Some, such as Indiana Chamber of Commerce CEO Kevin Brinegar, say the bill isn’t perfect but a good first step in addressing LGBT rights. 

The committee approved the bill 7-5, with all four Democrats and one Republican voting against it.

 

 

Related News

Indianapolis City-County Council Unanimously Passes $1.2 Billion 2019 Budget
Bipartisan Commission on Infrastructure Meets, Sets Goals
New Indiana Toll Road Deal Gets Final Approval