Lambda Legal Blasts Newly Introduced Indiana Bill

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November 17, 2015
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Jennifer C. Pizer, Law and Policy Project Director

This afternoon a bill to amend the civil rights code was introduced in the Indiana Senate—after reviewing the bill Jennifer Pizer, Law and Policy Project Director at Lambda Legal issued the following statement:

This bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This doesn’t protect LGBT people—it is a road map for discrimination against LGBT people.

It aims to guarantee the right of some medical, social services and other institutions to discriminate against married same-sex couples, and to do so with taxpayer dollars.  It aims to write separate, lesser protections for LGBT people into state law.  It aims to make LGBT people the vehicle for lessening damages for workplace discrimination for everyone except veterans—and it overrides local nondiscrimination policies that provide more  protection for LGBT people.

The drafters are explicit in the preamble that their goal is to resolve conflicts in favor of religious exemptions and against enforceability of the protections for LGBT people.

Earlier today Lambda Legal sent a 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, stating:

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.

Read the letter.