INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (January 26, 2016) –The following statement should be attributed to Peter Hanscom, initiative manager for Indiana Competes, a coalition of more than 425 Hoosier businesses and associations. The statement is in response to an Associated Press report stating the city of Indianapolis lost nearly $60 million over the past year in economic impact from a dozen or more organizations who opted against holding events in Indianapolis citing passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in March of 2015.
“The data released by Visit Indy proves, as business leaders have been saying for months, that LGBT non-discrimination is an economic issue. The $60 million lost in economic activity has a direct impact on more than 75,000 Hoosiers who make up the Indianapolis hospitality industry. For every lost convention that officials in Indianapolis have been able to track, how many other lost opportunities around the state can be attributed to the inability of our legislative leaders to do what’s necessary to end legal discrimination against the LGBT community?
“Instead of taking immediate action to end legal discrimination against LGBT Hoosiers, Indiana lawmakers are irresponsibly placing our state’s reputation at risk by considering passage of another RFRA (SB66), which doubles down on the same ideas that got us here in the first place. Indiana’s economy simply cannot afford to replay the backlash that resulted from last year’s misguided legislation.
“Tomorrow, in addition to testifying against SB66, business leaders will stand united in calling for full protections in the state’s civil rights code for both sexual orientation and gender identity. The coalition is committed to working with lawmakers of both parties to ensure that the final bill sent to Governor Pence is fully inclusive of the LGBT community and does not provide legal pathways to discrimination.
“The time is now for decisive action to be taken – lawmakers should take every step necessary to protect our state from severe economic harm by passing a bill showing that Indiana is a welcoming state where discrimination of any kind is illegal.”
Last week, Indiana Competes released an analysis of 2015 economic investment and job creation numbers from across the state indicating that the overwhelming majority of tracked economic investment since April of 2015 is located in communities with human rights ordinances (HROs) that ensure protection from legal discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (based on announcements from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation).
Indiana Competes is a coalition organized by Hoosier business leaders. The purpose of the campaign is to highlight positive economic impact to be realized by creating protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Indiana Competes supports the growth of Indiana’s economy by ensuring that all Hoosiers have equal protections in the workplace, in housing, and in public accommodations. To sign the pledge joining Indiana Competes, visit the website – www.indianacompetes.org.