This past week, the Spencer Pride Inc. Board of Directors issued a letter to several local and prominent legislators in the Indiana General Assembly. The letter was also issued to Governor Mike Pence. In the letter, the Board expressed their thoughts on the pending LGBT legislation in the Indiana General Assembly. An example of one of the letters (the one written to local Senator Eric Bassler) is shown below.
Volunteers of Spencer Pride will be a the statehouse rally on Wednesday, January 27th.
Subject: LGBT Non-discrimination & the 2016 Legislative Session of the Indiana General Assembly
Dear Senator Bassler:
On behalf of Spencer Pride, Inc., we wish to express our support for efforts to add ‘sexual orientation, gender identity” to the state’s nondiscrimination law. We believe that this will guarantee that all people in our state are treated fairly and with respect. This is a simple solution that will address a big problem for Hoosiers that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.
Right now in most places in Indiana you can be fired from your job, kicked out of your house, or denied service because of who you are and whom you love.
The passage of the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015 made the situation even worse than it had been before. While many communities and states throughout the country are working diligently to be more inclusive of LGBT people, Indiana legislators instead chose to take a more regressive path.
RFRA is detrimental to the reputation of Hoosier people and Hoosier businesses. Although the consequences of that legislation will continue to reverberate for years to come, adding protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Hoosiers will do much to limit further damages.
State code already contains non-discrimination protections based on race, gender, veteran status and religion. We do not believe that adding protections for the LGBT community in any way infringes upon those existing rights. We believe that eliminating RFRA and adding protections for LGB & T citizens are essential in order to ensure that Indiana competes in the national and global marketplace.
There are many proposals circulating in the legislature regarding this issue, but many of them do more harm than good. When considering these proposals we recommend that you do the following:
- Support legislation that adds protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, AND transgender community.
- The best approach is to add ‘sexual orientation, gender identity’ to the states nondiscrimination law. Senate Bill 2 does this, and we support this approach.
- Senate Bill 344 is an attempt to add protections for some Hoosiers, but it does not include transgender people. Therefore, we do not support it.
- Reject proposals that limit the ability of local governments to make their own decisions about adopting even more inclusive civil rights protections.
- Senate Bill100 would override existing municipal civil rights protections. We do not agree with this.
- Senate Bill 66 would allow businesses and individuals to ignore existing local LGBT anti-discrimination statutes. This would do nothing to protection LGBT people, but rather, it works to harm them further.
- Reject proposals that add exceptions to the protections of LGBT people
Thank you for consideration of this important issue.
Spencer Pride Inc. Board of Directors
Jonathan A. Balash, President & Director;
Judith Epp, Treasurer & Director;
Katie Zuber, Secretary & Director;
Kim Fidler, Director;
Eric Jones, Director;
Cathy Wyatt, Director