Business Coalition Joins Fight for LGBT Equality to Promote Economic Growth December 2, 2015

Today marks the launch of Indiana Competes, a coalition of more than 150 business leaders from across the state united in support of comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination protections.

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Though some municipalities have local ordinances that protect gay and transgender Hoosiers from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, Indiana’s state civil rights law does not include non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Indiana Competes was founded because business leaders know that the sustainable growth of Indiana’s economy is dependent upon its reputation of fairness and innovation. Michael Huber, president and CEO of the Indy Chamber and member of Indiana Competes said:

Our businesses are better able to compete in a global economy if we have a reputation as a state that is inclusive.

Earlier this year, the Indiana legislature passed the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to cataclysmic national business backlash. And ever since, the state economy has been in recovery. Some studies project up to $8 million in tourism and other revenue losses.

Doug Dayhoff, the CEO of Upland Brewing Company and an Indiana Competes member, says “discrimination has never been a part of Indiana’s culture.” But laws like RFRA send a strong message to outside businesses and top talent that Indiana is only selectively open for business—if you’re gay or transgender, then you aren’t fully welcome.

Indiana Competes members like Bob Goodman of Goodman Jewelers have learned first-hand the importance of equal protections for attracting and retaining top businesses and clientele:

Employees, consumers and visitors to our state must feel welcome in our communities. For Indiana to protect its reputation as the premier destination to locate and grow a business, we have to make certain all people are given the same rights here.

In a press event today, Indy Chamber president issued an appeal for continued unity in the fight to pass full LGBT non-discrimination protections, saying: “This is an opportunity to show the world who we are.”

After today’s formal launch, the coalition will host events throughout the state to educate other business leaders on the impact of LGBT equality on economic growth and to recruit business pledges.

CLICK HERE to see a comprehensive list of business that support comprehensive non-discrimination protections for gay and transgender Hoosiers. If you are a business owner, and would like to join the coalition for full LGBT equality, CLICK HERE.