LGBT groups oppose protections bill that cleared Indiana Senate panel

Thu. January 28, 2016 12:50 PM by Carlos Santoscoy

Indianapolis, Indiana - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has called an Indiana bill that would grant discrimination protections to gay, lesbian and bisexual people "deeply flawed."

Soon after the Senate Rules and Legislative Procedures committee approved Republican Senator Travis Holdman's bill (SB 344) on a 7-5 vote Wednesday night, HRC, the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, panned the proposal.

SB 344 "would unacceptably exclude any and all protections for transgender Hoosiers, would undermine existing protections for race and religion, and would remove the authority of municipalities to pass any new, fully inclusive LGBT non-discrimination protections at the local level," HRC said in a blog post.

The bill is a response to a religious objections law approved last year that opponents claimed would allow businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. In response to a threatened boycott, lawmakers added a "fix" to the law that prohibits its use to discriminate.

A recent survey by Visit Indy, which promotes tourism, suggests that the law may have cost Indianapolis more than $60 million in lost convention revenues.

LGBT legal group Lambda Legal also criticized the proposed bill: "Senate Bill 344 extends very limited rights to lesbian and gay people in employment, housing and public accommodations but the bill also includes broad religious exemptions that give businesses and publicly funded social service agencies legal permission to discriminate against LGBT people in Indiana. Furthermore, SB 344 completely excludes any protections for people who are transgender."

SB 344 now heads to the full Senate.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine