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Legislative committee hears why Nondiscrimination reform is important to Hoosiers August 30, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS — This morning, an interim study committee met to hear from everyday Hoosiers why Indiana needs nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

“We hope that lawmakers are listening with open minds and open and hearts,” Chris Paulsen of Freedom Indiana said. “When the legislature failed to adopt nondiscrimination protections during the last legislative session, we learned earlier that the LGBT community and our allies must continue to tell our stories and discuss why protecting everyone from discrimination is good for Indiana.”

In what is the first of three study committee meetings, lawmakers heard from community, business and faith leaders, as well as everyday Hoosiers who not only stated why nondiscrimination protections are important for the state and its citizens, but also how the state’s year-old religious refusal bill has hurt the state’s economy, reputation and citizens.

“The ramification to CloudOne was also clear: in the marketplace of talent where we compete with New York, Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco – even Chicago, from where we moved CloudOne – there can be not a shred of doubt in anyone’s mind that Indiana is a welcoming and inclusive place to live and work,” CloudOne CEO John McDonald expressed. “Said simply, Indiana is not, and never can be, a place for discrimination in any form – especially that practiced by business and allowed by government.

The committee also heard from a number of transgender individuals who courageously made their case for supporting nondiscrimination protections for their community, including Korvin Bothwell, owner of Vital Skates:

“Trans people must be included in civil rights legislation. We seem new and different, but that’s only because we’re living more open and healthy lives. From that openness we are getting a much better understanding of how trans people are hurting from a lack of inclusion. And so we come to you to urgently request fully inclusive protections for LGB&T people.”

The committee will meet again on September 22nd for its second meeting. After the study committee has concluded, it will report its findings to the entire legislature.

“Given the testimony we heard today and the facts from the business community, local municipalities and elsewhere, it is clear that Indiana needs comprehensive nondiscrimination protections,” Paulsen added. “We will work everyday to ensure that is the case.”

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