By Jasmine Otam
House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, hasn’t given up on up on adding LGBT rights to Indiana legislation this year.
“You do not want to be caught up on the wrong side of this debate in the coming years,” said Pelath Monday during House session. “You will regret if you do not take action, and allow debate in this chamber this particular session.”
Pelath believes the Senate has dropped the ball this session when it comes to LGBT rights with Senate Bill 344, and urged his fellow representatives not to do the same.
SB 344 would have offered protections to gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals, but did not extend rights to transgendered people. Instead, it called for a legislative study committee on transgendered issues. The bill passed a Senate committee with a 7-5 vote, but was never called before the full Senate due to a lack of support by legislators.
“The way to tackle it is to not sweep it under the rug, and pretend like it doesn’t exist because that is not what the people of Indiana are viewing,” said Pelath. “They are simply seeing a lack of willingness to confront it head on.”
Pelath said he and the rest of the Democratic Caucus will continue to look for opportunities to have this necessary discussion.
“You will be doing yourselves a favor if you tackle this issue this session,” he said, “and do it boldly and aggressively and without hesitation.”
Jasmine Otam is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.