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By Patrick Roth
SOUTH BEND – LGBT protections were not a priority in Gov. Mike Pence’s State of the State Address.
It is the issue that everyone is talking about. There are two very different takes as to how the governor handled the issue.
“I think the general sense was, I was looking for more,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg, D-South Bend. “I think a lot of people said something along those lines. I was hoping there would be more.”
“When I heard Mike make his statement last night, I thought he’s in a good place,” said Patrick Managan, the president of Citizens for Community Values.
Some argue that by not taking a stronger stand on LGBT rights, Pence risks having a repeat of last year’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act debate, where several businesses threatened to boycott the state.
“Just the other day I was hearing about business opportunity coming to our state,” Buttigieg said. “But that company really cares about equality. I’m worried if they’ll think twice about coming here given that the governor decided not to lead on this issue.”
“I would say this,” Mangan said. “If businesses don’t want to come to Indiana because they don’t like Midwestern values and they don’t like heartland values and they don’t like pro-family values, I’m not worried about that.”
Some say any extension of the civil rights code to the LGBT community would limit their ability to act on their faith.
“Nobody has been able to say that we’re going to uphold constitutional rights of faith, and we’re going to give special status in the law to abhorrent sexual practices to behavior based groups,” Mangan said.
Buttigieg points to South Bend and several other cities that have LGBT protections as an example that the rest of the state should follow.
“We haven’t had any problems that people were afraid might materialize back in 2013,” he said. “We had the benefit, during Indiana’s national humiliation to be able to say ‘hey, our city is different and we’re able to prove it because have this law.'”SHARE THIS STORY