(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana businesses are joining forces in hopes of persuading state lawmakers to pass comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBT Hoosiers.
Indiana Competes officially launched on Tuesday. The coalition is comprised of more than 150 large and small businesses. They are mostly businesses from the Indianapolis area, but the member list does include heavyweights such as Eli Lilly and Company, Cummins, AT&T, Anthem, the Indiana Pacers, and Dow AgroSciences.
“Our businesses are better able to compete in a global economy if we have a reputation as a state that is inclusive,” said Michael Huber, president and CEO of the Indy Chamber, which is also a member of Indiana Competes.
The coalition plans to hold events throughout the state to recruit business pledges and educate other business leaders on LGBT equality’s impact on economic growth.
Indiana is still struggling to include them in the state’s civil rights law without angering conservatives and religious groups who supported the original version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The law passed earlier this year caused many businesses and states to boycott Indiana, worrying many in the business community.
Proposed legislation from Indiana Senate Republicans would add sexual orientation and sexual identity to the state’s civil rights law, but would also carve out religious exemptions.
“I think there is a strong desire for the legislature and the government to partner with businesses and the community to make sure that we find a path forward here,” said Eli Lilly Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Diversity Stephen Fry, a Jac-Cen-Del High School graduate.
Southeast Indiana state lawmakers weighed in on the LGBT civil rights proposed legislation during a legislative preview event in Lawrenceburg on Tuesday.