Business coalition doubles membership in first two weeks Source: Lebanon Reporter • December 18, 2015

CLICK HERE to read the original article on Lebanon Reporter.

Indiana Competes, a coalition of Indiana business leaders asking lawmakers to amend Indiana’s civil rights code to prohibit discrimination of any kind, has doubled its initial membership within two weeks of its official launch. Currently, more than 300 businesses and associations across the state have signed the Indiana Competes business pledge.

“The statewide support to prohibit discrimination is so important because even the perception of intolerance can be devastating to Indiana’s reputation,” said Kassy Lauer of Evansville’s Toast, in a press release. “It is legal to discriminate in Indiana, and it shouldn’t be. We cannot be viewed as a state that permits discrimination because most businesses have no tolerance for intolerance.”

Indiana Competes officially launched on Dec. 2 and has held announcement events in Indianapolis, South Bend, Bloomington, Evansville, Lafayette, Griffith and Fort Wayne. Recent additions to the coalition include: NCAA national office – Indianapolis, the Indiana Association of REALTORS®, Allison Transmission, Appirio, OneZone Inc., and the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association. Currently, more than 300 Hoosier businesses have signed a formal pledge of support for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodation.

“The NCAA national office in Indianapolis supports making Indiana a welcoming and inclusive place for people to work, live and enjoy,” said Bernard Franklin, chief inclusion officer and executive vice president, education and community engagement. “The national office is proud to join Indiana Competes as the coalition works to establish fair and equitable policies for all.”

Indiana does not have a statewide law that ensures legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in housing, employment, and other public accommodations. And while many municipalities have passed local ordinances offering protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, Hoosier businesses recognize that a statewide measure is crucial to growing Indiana’s economy.

“Joining Indiana Competes was an easy decision for us. It’s an extension of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics, and we have operated on this basis for many years,” said Bruce Bright, 2015 president, Indiana Association of REALTORS®. “Our code prohibits a REALTORS® from discriminating in professional services and employment practices on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. We support the call of our state’s major employers to remove this roadblock to the recruitment and retention of the workforce they need to compete. It’s time to put this issue behind us.”

The Indiana Competes business pledge and a full list of Hoosier businesses that have signed the pledge can be found at www.indianacompetes.org.

The Boone County businesses that have already joined are — Black Diamond Excavating & Contracting, Inc., Lebanon; A King’s Art Studio & Gallery LLC, Zionsville; Blooming Life Yoga Studio + School, Zionsville; Clear Software, Zionsville; Cobblestone Grill, Zionsville; CV Art and Frame, Zionsville; and Goodman Jewelers, Zionsville.