Response to SB 344: Excluding Transgender Hoosiers Harms Efforts to Strengthen Indiana’s Business Climate January 7, 2016

Today, Indiana lawmakers introduced SB 344, legislation supposedly aimed to update the state’s civil rights law to protect LGBT Hoosiers from discrimination. But unlike SB 100, which was introduced late last year, this new bill omits any protections for transgender Hoosiers.

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Peter Hanscom, Indiana Competes’ initiative manager, responded to the introduction of SB 344—noting that the exclusion of transgender Hoosiers harms Indiana’s ability to strengthen our business climate:

“Indiana businesses are sending an overwhelming message that explicit protections from discrimination for all Hoosiers are essential to growing our state’s economy and keeping us competitive on a global scale.  We have, and will continue to engage in productive conversations with lawmakers about the importance of these non-discrimination policies. Removing protections for any class of people in the effort to update our state’s non-discrimination law undercuts our work to keep Indiana an attractive place to do business. We will continue to work with our partners in the Senate to achieve a bill that fully protects all Hoosiers.”

Since launching our coalition last month, Indiana businesses have made it clear: Only full, comprehensive protections that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity will ensure our state can attract and retain the top talent we need to build a vibrant workforce.

On Tuesday, more than 350 businesses sent a letter to every single member of the General Assembly, underscoring the need for comprehensive protections. They said:

“Indiana has the 16th largest economy in the United States, but permitting legal discrimination harms our state’s ability to grow a talented workforce, attract entrepreneurial innovation, and build a thriving tourist industry. To continue our economic growth, we must have the tools necessary to recruit and retain the best talent to live and work for us here, in Indiana. The people we recruit must know that they, their family and their friends are welcome here. Taking an affirmative position that no one will face legal discrimination will allow us to recruit the talent we need, and retain the visitors who support our retail businesses across the state.”

Discrimination simply isn’t a Hoosier value—and businesses across the state know that it’s finally time for Indiana’s laws to match Indiana’s values. Click here to join the business community in urging lawmakers to pass nothing short of full protections for LGBT Hoosiers.