Group will push for statewide nondiscrimination law in 2016 legislative session
Freedom Indiana, the statewide grassroots organization that successfully fought a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and the so-called Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), Wednesday announced it will focus its efforts for the rest of this year on helping cities and towns craft local nondiscrimination policies that protect LGBT Hoosiers.
The group plans to push for a statewide nondiscrimination law during the 2016 legislative session.
Freedom Indiana campaign manager Katie Blair said, “First and foremost, we are heartened by the outpouring of support over the past month to push for statewide nondiscrimination language that protects Hoosiers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. From faith groups to businesses to grassroots activists, the chorus was loud, and the message was strong.”
Blair added, “The end result of the bruising RFRA fight was a more global realization that Indiana currently denies basic statewide nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people, and we need to change that. Moving forward in the coming months, Freedom Indiana will work with cities and counties to adopt comprehensive nondiscrimination policies at the local level in order to provide important protections for LGBT Hoosiers until they are passed at the statewide level. We understand the importance of these ordinances as a first step when it comes to recruiting new businesses and making all residents feel welcome.”
Freedom Indiana is keeping a keen eye on the 2016 legislative session as well.
“As we look toward the 2016 legislative session, we will work with the corporate community, which was so instrumental in mitigating the harm of the Indiana RFRA, to push for a statewide nondiscrimination law that will permanently ensure protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity and make other changes to the RFRA to ensure it cannot be used to discriminate,” Blair said. “We will stand together and make it clear that this is not just an LGBT issue or an economic development issue or a recruitment issue: It’s a Hoosier issue. Our strength is not just in numbers, but in the many voices we bring together when something has the potential to harm the state we love.”
Blair concluded, “This needless chapter of Indiana political history has severely damaged the reputation of our warm, welcoming state. It will take more than basic nondiscrimination protections to undo the damage. We have an opportunity to make those changes, and we won’t rest until we’ve accomplished that goal.”