As the 2016 legislative session nears conclusion, the Indiana Competes coalition reaffirms a commitment to updating Indiana’s civil rights code to adequately protect all Hoosier citizens from discrimination. Business leaders from all corners of the state continue to realize the economic impact that is directly tied to our state’s lingering reputation as an unwelcoming place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Today, the coalition announces plans to maintain staff deployed around the state to assist leaders in Hoosier communities with the passage of local Human Rights Ordinances, to help continue conversations about the realities surrounding Indiana’s current non-discrimination laws and to take all necessary steps to build toward the next legislative session, in anticipation that serious steps toward full equality in employment, housing and public accommodation will be taken.
Our Initiative Director Peter Hanscom said this as lawmakers gaveled out for the 2016 session today:
“An overwhelming majority of Hoosiers still find it difficult to believe that in 2016 it remains legal to discriminate against someone simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. These protections are straightforward and will allow Indiana to attract the most highly-skilled workforce, where employees advance based on their talent, performance and qualifications – not who or how they love.
“Indiana has the 16th largest economy in the United States, but permitting legal discrimination of any kind harms our state’s ability to grow a talented workforce, attract entrepreneurial innovation, and build a thriving tourism industry. In the interim period while the General Assembly has recessed, the members of our coalition remain committed to the LGBT community and doing all that we can to increase protections at the local level.
“The early death of proposed legislation to protect the LGBT community against those who wish to legally discriminate against them was certainly a disappointment for our more than 500 business coalition members, but the conversations that continue with lawmakers of both political parties give us hope that we’ll be discussing this important issue again next year with an even better informed legislature.”