The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has
called an Indiana bill that would grant discrimination protections to
gay, lesbian and bisexual people “deeply flawed.”
Soon after the Senate Rules and
Legislative Procedures committee approved Republican Senator Travis
Holdman's bill (SB 344) on a 7-5 vote Wednesday night, HRC, the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, panned the proposal.
SB 344 “would unacceptably exclude
any and all protections for transgender Hoosiers, would undermine
existing protections for race and religion, and would remove the
authority of municipalities to pass any new, fully inclusive LGBT
non-discrimination protections at the local level,” HRC said in a
The bill is a response to a religious
objections law approved last year that opponents claimed would allow
businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. In
response to a threatened boycott, lawmakers added a “fix” to the
law that prohibits its use to discriminate.
A recent survey by Visit Indy, which
promotes tourism, suggests that the law may have cost Indianapolis
more than $60 million in lost convention revenues.
LGBT legal group Lambda Legal also
criticized the proposed bill: “Senate Bill 344 extends very limited
rights to lesbian and gay people in employment, housing and public
accommodations but the bill also includes broad religious exemptions
that give businesses and publicly funded social service agencies
legal permission to discriminate against LGBT people in Indiana.
Furthermore, SB 344 completely excludes any protections for people
who are transgender.”
SB 344 now heads to the full Senate.