What is Indiana Competes trying to accomplish?
Indiana Competes is working to update Indiana’s existing discrimination laws to include gay and transgender Hoosiers, making discrimination illegal on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. We believe that ensuring Indiana is a welcoming place for everyone is critical to the state’s economic growth and welfare.
Why is new legislation needed?
Right now under Indiana law, a person can be fired, denied housing, or declined service just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. During the last legislative session, many Hoosiers became aware of the lack of legal protections for LGBT residents and visitors in Indiana, and the need to rectify this problem. A clear majority of Hoosiers support updating existing civil rights legislation to ensure discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity does not happen in Indiana.
Won’t the marketplace simply fix these issues?
When it comes to civil rights, especially the ability of a person to earn a livelihood and find adequate housing, direct and deliberate action is needed. The market may work these issues out (or they may not) but waiting any amount of time while individuals are subject to legal discrimination is wrong and it negatively impacts Indiana’s economy and image each day that passes without action.
Should there be religious exemptions in the legislation?
Yes. Churches, affiliated schools and other religious organizations are exempt from employment nondiscrimination laws in Indiana and that should not change under any new legislation supported by Indiana Competes. Religious freedom is a fundamental right in the United States and in Indiana as reflected in the federal and state constitutions, but religious freedom does not grant the right to governments and businesses to discriminate against others who do not share their beliefs. Laws in Indiana already protect people of faith from discrimination against them regarding their beliefs; now it is time to ensure everyone in our state is similarly protected.