Indiana lawmakers on Tuesday decided
not to vote on a proposed bill that sought to protect gay, lesbian
and bisexual people from discrimination in the state.
State Senator David Long, leader of
majority Republicans, told the AP that efforts to pass such a bill
were dead for this legislative session.
“We took a beating from all sides in
trying to do this,” said
Long. “This effort was unfortunately hampered by
well-organized extreme messaging from groups representing both sides
of this discussion – many of them from out of state. Neither of
those sides were truly seeking a solution.”
Republican Senator Travis Holdman's
bill (SB 344) was 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.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, said in a statement that it
opposed SB 344 because it did not include transgender people and
allowed broad religious exemptions.
“Thinly veiled as an attempt to allow
discrimination against LGBT Hoosiers to continue while trying to
mitigate the tremendous economic damage inflicted on the state from
Gov. Pence’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the bill
claimed to provide non-discrimination protections but unacceptably
left behind transgender Hoosiers, included dangerously broad
religious refusal exemptions, undermined existing protections for
race and religion, explicitly permitted taxpayer-funded
discrimination in adoption agencies, and would have stripped away the
authority of local municipalities to pass fully inclusive LGBT
non-discrimination protections,” the group said.