Friday, December 4, 2015

Four Words & a Comma Best Way to Guarantee Rights for All Hoosiers

The Indiana General Assembly has big issues to deal with in its upcoming “short” session.

From education to a wide variety of other issues, the Indiana House and Indiana Senate have a full, jam-packed agenda from day one. From infrastructure issues to education, it’s going to be a plate more full than you had at your Thanksgiving dinner.

That’s why you would think it would behoove the General Assembly to clear some off the clutter first. You’d think they would want to minimize the distracting courses on the plate and work with those meat and potato issues. It would behoove them to address the LGBT civil rights question and settle it early before it derails the entire session.

The simplest way to clear this issue from the agenda would be to add four words and a comma to the state’s anti-discrimination law: “gender identity, sexual orientation”.

As it stands now, only LGBT Hoosiers are protected in cities like Indianapolis that have a human rights ordinance. If you live in Indy, you can get married on Saturday and not be firedon Monday. Elsewhere in Indiana, it’s not that simple. 

Instead of the four words and a comma approach, the General Assembly will consider Senate Bill 100. It’s a convoluted mess of a bill that pretty much reaffirms parts of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 

Among other things, SB100 would:
  • Continue to allow some businesses to discriminate
  • Propose a fine for those whose claims are deemed “frivolous” of $1,000
  • Override local attempts to prevent discrimination
That’s just the surface. The bill clocks in at over 20 pages.
It’s time to get serious in Indiana about protecting all Hoosiers. I would advise the Republicans to abandon SB 100 and simply add in the four requested words and a comma to the state’s non-discrimination code.  

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