It’s another step in the right direction.
One of the many excuses Indiana Republicans have used when asked if the state legislature would consider putting equal rights protections for LGBTQ Hoosiers into the state’s civil rights laws is that there was no national precedent. (I remind you that this is the same group that counts 20 states as a “mere few” when it comes to the number of other states in the U.S. with these kinds of protections on their books.)
Rep. Andre Carson (IN-7) plans to poke the first hole in that argument.
Carson is expected to present a resolution later this week expressing a “Sense of Congress” that the LGBT community should be protected from discrimination under the law.
While “Sense of” resolutions are statements of majority opinion, they can be added as amendments to regular bills moving through Congress. Still, a “Sense of” amendment is not force law even if the regular bill is passed and signed.
What a “Sense of” resolution does do, however, is creates a public record of the legislators who vote for or against the resolution, letting voters know exactly where their Congressional representative and/or Senator stands on the issue.
Carson made the following remarks after the announcement.
“As Americans, we pride ourselves on being the most free and open society the world has ever known. Yet, for far too long, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have been forced to live in the shadows because of who they are. Year after year, we see attacks on the LGBT community as governments at all levels look to institutionalize discrimination in the name of religious freedom. Recently, we witnessed my home state of Indiana enact the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, giving businesses the right to refuse service based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“In the wake of the backlash of Indiana’s misguided law, it is clear that the vast majority of Americans oppose this type of discrimination. It is long past time for Congress to ensure that all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, know that they are valued members of our society. From housing to employment to education, they deserve to live their lives like any other American, free from intolerance because of who they are.
“I am proud to join with my House colleagues to introduce this resolution, which makes clear that the discrimination faced by the LGBT community is unacceptable. America is defined by the rich culture that results from our differences, not by intolerance towards a selected few. With this resolution, we are reaffirming our commitment to overcome this civil rights issue and ensure true equality for all Americans.”