The long-awaited debate over expanding Indiana's civil rights laws to include protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Hoosiers is about to begin.
An initial hearing on two measures introduced by Senate Republicans starts today at 4 p.m..
Lawmakers are expected to take testimony on two proposals. Senate Bill 100 would provide protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but with exceptions for small wedding service providers and religious-affiliated organizations, including hospitals and universities affiliated with a particular faith The second, Senate Bill 344, was drafted after growing qualms over transgender issues and would grant civil rights only to gays and lesbians. It would also include somewhat broader exemptions for religious objectors.
Those on both sides of the debate have criticized the proposals.
LGBT advocates have objected to the religious exemptions, saying they treat sexual orientation and gender identity differently than other protected classes. They also insist that protections for transgender Hoosiers be included.
Religious conservatives, on the other hand, fear that any protections for LGBT Hoosiers could interfere with their Christian beliefs.
Indiana, we hold you in our thoughts today.
Remember folks, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr)
Freedom Indiana's main site has a pledge to sign and contact info for lawmakers if you want to get involved. They also have a Facebook Page for updates and to show your support.