Amid much posturing, little progress on civil rights, time for business community to be heard:
In last week’s State of the State address, Governor Pence said that “Hoosiers don’t tolerate discrimination against anyone.” But to move beyond last year’s divisive RFRA debate, comforting words must be accompanied by legislative action.
A number of bills seek to address this issue: Senate Bill 2, the clearest expansion of LGBT rights (the “four-words-and-a-comma” bill), SB100 and 344, which expand civil rights with various caveats, and SB66, which seeks to replace RFRA altogether by elevating certain “fundamental rights” in the Indiana Constitution.
House Speaker Bosma commented late last week that passing an anti-discrimination bill would be “more difficult” afterGovernor Pence’s State of the State address. We expect a contentious debate – once again, the business community must lead.
Through the ‘Indiana Competes’ coalition, the Indy Chamber continues to advocate for an unequivocal expansion of Indiana’s civil rights code to include our LGBT neighbors, co-workers and families. Visit www.indianacompetes.org to learn more, join the effort and contact your legislators.
Indianapolis has guaranteed these rights for more than a decade, and has shown that our city can be inclusive and open to all, including people of faith. More communities across the state are following suit with local resolutions and ordinances; these must also be protected in the absence of an inclusive state law.
Governor Pence rightfully places jobs and the economy among his top priorities – but talent is essential to a strong business climate. If Indiana isn’t welcoming to all people, we also close the door to new business opportunities, jobs and investment. The economic stakes are high, and it’s time for Indiana to move forward – make your voice heard today.