AUDIO: LGBT Protections Bill Unveiled By Ind. Republicans
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – As people on both sides of the issue rallied outside the Indiana Statehouse, Indiana Senate Republicans were unveiling a proposal to add LGBT protections to the state’s anti-discrimination law.
“This bill is an attempt to balance civil rights and religious liberty,” said Indiana Senate President David Long (R-Fort Wayne) during Organization Day.
The introduced legislation – Senate Bill 100 – written by Republicans seeks to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s civil rights law. The bill would provide exceptions for churches and religious-affiliated institutions as well as some small businesses.
The bill will have to pass the Indiana Senate before it reaches the Indiana House when the 2016 legislative session begins in January. Speaking on Eagle Country 99.3 on Wednesday morning, southeast Indiana State Representative Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) said lawmakers are looking for an opportunity to make sure no one is discriminated against.
“It’s not going to be easy,” Frye said. “We’re going to deal with it the best that we can and then we’re going to move on. We’ve got other things to deal with including road funding, the abuse of drugs – narcotics and meth – and a teacher shortage and those kids of things.”
Frye echoed Bosma in stating that it’s a foregone conclusion that not everybody is going to be satisfied if and when the bill becomes law.
Activists on both sides of the issue reacted after seeing the legislative proposal, including pro-gay rights group Freedom Indiana.
“We’re encouraged that the Indiana Senate understands how important it is to address discrimination in Indiana and has made it a legislative priority to update our state civil rights law to protect gay and transgender people. We look forward to working with leadership in both chambers to end legal discrimination against gay and transgender people in our state,” a statement from the organization said.
HEAR EAGLE COUNTRY 99.3’S INTERVIEW WITH STATE REPRESENTATIVE RANDY FRYE IN THE AUDIO PLAYER BELOW.
Meanwhile, a new Bellwether Research poll showed 55 percent of Hoosiers support, with 35 percent strongly supporting, the idea of adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Indiana’s civil rights law. The poll by Republican pollster Christine Matthews also found that 33 percent oppose. About 76 percent of Hoosiers asked believe that LGBT residents face at least a little discrimination.
Democrats and gay rights advocates have been pushing for greater LGBT protections since the national uproar last spring over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Religious conservatives became disgruntled when lawmakers passed a “fix” clarifying the new law was not to be used to discriminate.