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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH ) — There’s a new coalition of Indiana business leaders seeking LGBT protections in Indiana.
It’s called Indiana Competes and it already has pledges of support from 150 companies.
They range from Lilly and Cummins to much smaller companies, including Upland Brewing.
At the Upland Brewing Tap House in Carmel, CEO Doug Dayhoff said that he first felt the need for a new civil rights law when he traveled to a beer festival in North Carolina in March.
“We started to hear remarks from people in the crowd like, ‘I don’t know if I want to try your beer because I don’t like what your state stands for,’” he said.
The people in the crowd were talking about the RFRA controversy. Dayhoff felt the need to explain that the new state law was in conflict with his company’s values.
It’s why he joined Indiana Competes.
“I mean, we’re a proud Hoosier brewer and the brand of Indiana travels with us as we go outside the state,” he said, “and it was a bit of a handicap.”
Peter Hanscom is the manager of the Indiana Competes coalition, which he says is different from the gay rights organization Freedom Indiana.
“Business leaders,” he said, “decided that they wanted to have their own vessel, right, for just a strictly business and economic message.”
Business leaders like Dayhoff are being encouraged to tell their own stories.
“If Hoosier companies can’t grow, if Hoosier companies can’t prosper, that affects all Hoosier families regardless of the politics,” Dayhoff said.
The effort is aimed at the General Assembly and the session that begins in January.
A non-discrimination bill has already been filed and a debate will take place.