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I’m a Hoosier, too Kimberly Acoff • Fort Wayne
Updated statement from Freedom Indiana on Senate Bill 100 November 18, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS — Freedom Indiana, the statewide grassroots organization backing an update to existing Indiana civil rights law that would protect gay and transgender people from discrimination, issued the following updated statement in response to Senate Bill 100, which was unveiled by Indiana Senate leadership yesterday.

The statement can be attributed to campaign manager Chris Paulsen.

“Now that we’ve had a chance to review Senate Bill 100 in greater detail, we remain encouraged that lawmakers have made this issue a priority and recognized the need to update our laws to provide much-needed protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“However, we have grave concerns about some aspects of the bill and will be actively working to come up with solutions to the troubling parts of the legislation that need improvement to before the bill can achieve its aim of addressing discrimination against gay and transgender people in Indiana.

“Some of those concerns include the fact that the legislation would prohibit cities and towns from enforcing existing or adding meaningful local civil rights protections to achieve fair treatment of their residents and as an economic development tool.

“We also are particularly troubled by the limited protections offered for discrimination based on gender identity, as well as the implications of very broad religious and services exemptions that would authorize discrimination against gay and transgender people and either erode or eliminate many longstanding protections under Indiana civil rights law for discrimination based on other currently protected characteristics.

“For example, this bill could allow a homeless shelter that receives government funding to turn away a single mother or permit a religiously affiliated hospital to deny someone the ability to make medical decisions for a same-sex spouse.

“We look forward to working with lawmakers over the coming weeks and months to make the improvements this bill needs to ensure gay and transgender people are protected under Indiana law.”

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Freedom Indiana is the statewide grassroots organization that successfully fought a constitutional marriage amendment and sounded the alarm on the economically devastating Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The group is advocating that legislators update existing laws against discrimination to include gay and transgender people so no one in Indiana can be fired, denied housing or turned away from public accommodation based on who they are or whom they love.