For Immediate Release
Contact: Lauren Schregardus
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (January 27, 2016) – Hoosier business leaders were prepared to offer testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee today on Senate Bill 66. The bill, which was not called for a vote, includes language similar to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that was initially signed into law in March 2015. The bill could have created opportunity for legal discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.
“We’ve been clear from the beginning that this bill does nothing to solve the problem of discrimination against LGBT people, but instead sent the message that some Indiana lawmakers are still not serious about making certain that all people have equal rights. Moving forward, we must focus on real solutions to our real problems,” said Indy Chamber CEO Michael Huber. “We now know that the passage of RFRA is responsible for at least $60 Million in lost convention business which impacts not only our reputation as a convention destination, but also the hard working employees who count on our city’s visitors for their own employment. Perception is reality, and these self-inflicted wounds continue to hurt us.”
More than a dozen business leaders, LGBT rights supporters and faith leaders were prepared to testify against the measure and continue to call on the Indiana General Assembly to take substantive, proactive measures to prevent further discrimination against gay and transgender Hoosiers.
The statement below should be attributed to Peter Hanscom, initiative director for Indiana Competes:
“Indiana Competes applauds the Senate Judiciary Committee for not passing Senate Bill 66 today. The damage that SB 66 could have caused our state goes beyond what Hoosiers witnessed last spring when the first Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law.
“Moving forward, we expect our state’s elected officials to focus their efforts on eliminating legal discrimination, not enabling it. Indiana’s reputation has suffered serious damage since the last legislative session and we have an obligation to take decisive action to ensure we correct that error in the future.
“Later this afternoon, members of the Senate Rules Committee have the opportunity to begin to set things right by amending existing bills to include full protections for the LGBT community – putting an end to legal discrimination against Hoosiers on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”
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.