State Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) tweeted Monday that it’s been “Too quiet thus far on path forward RE: Civil Rights protections for LGBT Hoosiers.”
Today he decided to make some noise.
In a press conference this morning, Lanane laid out the language his caucus will propose to add sexual orientation and gender identity to Indiana’s civil right’s statutes.
“There’s no room for shortcuts or half measures, all Hoosiers deserve equal protection under the law,” said Lanane. “LGBT Hoosiers can be married legally over the weekend and be fired for it Monday. That simply does not represent who we are as Hoosiers, or as human beings.”
Lanane says the preliminary draft, authored by the Senate Democratic Caucus, gives protections in the “simplest and strongest fashion possible.” The draft simply adds “sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status” to the existing list of protected classes, such as race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin, and ancestry. It also offers more specific definitions of certain terms.
Lanane’s announced legislation comes the morning after the city of Carmel passed a local ordinance affording civil rights protections to its LGBTQ residents along with penalties if businesses and organizations don’t comply. Carmel joined a growing list of cities and towns that have come up with the their own local language in the wake of last year’s controversy over RFRA. Many communities felt they needed something official on their books to illustrate communities of tolerance to prospective businesses and residents.
Republican leaders had promised to discuss the issue after the summer study committees were announced and LGBTQ civil rights were absent from the table. Lanane says the discussion of amending the state’s civil rights laws needs to shift from behind closed doors to a public dialogue. Lanane also wrote a letter to Senate President Pro-Tempore David Long urging his support.
Bills for the upcoming 2016 legislation session cannot be filed until October 19, however Lanane says he will file this bill as soon as it is possible.