Lambda Legal Calls for Comprehensive Protections for LGBT Hoosiers

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November 17, 2015

Lambda Legal sent an open letter to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and leaders of the Indiana House and Senate urging them to include sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing categories that enjoy protection from discrimination under Indiana law.

The letter cautions state leaders not to pass legislation that includes carve-outs allowing service providers to refuse to serve LGBT people for religious reasons, or legislation omitting anti-discrimination protections to people who are transgender.

Jim Bennett, Regional Director for Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office, said:

Just as Indiana law currently prohibits discrimination against Hoosiers based on ancestry, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, or status as a veteran, Indiana should prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Furthermore, any bill that gives businesses permission to discriminate against LGBT people in the name of religion, or that fails to protect transgender people is unacceptable. We hope Indiana’s leaders have learned that legislating intolerance is bad for the state and moves us backward instead of forward.

From the letter:

We wish to be clear: half-measures, such as amending Indiana’s employment discrimination law, but not its laws banning similar discrimination by service providers such as hotels or restaurants, or omitting protection from discrimination for transgender people, would be completely unacceptable to us, to LGBT Hoosiers and to others around the country anxious to see, after last year’s display of intolerance, whether Indiana is committed to being a welcoming state for residents, employees, convention-goers, and other visitors alike.

LGBT Hoosiers have a right to expect protection from discrimination by the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity to Indiana’s existing civil rights laws. It’s as simple as that.