Copying the worthless Utah LGBT Discrimination Bill that passed erlier this year with major criticism from the LGBT community. , Indiana Senate Republicans introduced legislation Tuesday that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s civil rights laws while carving out large exemptions for those with radical religious objections.
The bill explicitly protects religious leaders such as pastors, priests and rabbis from being required to perform marriages for same-sex couples. But it also includes exceptions for churches and religious-affiliated institutions such as charities, private universities, hospitals, colleges, adoption agencies and day care providers to still be able to discriminate against the LGBT community. The very offenders which the bill is needed to protect against.
Other exemptions would allow schools, employers and others to determine their own restroom policies for transgender people; businesses with fewer than four employees to refuse wedding services to same-sex couples; and religious-affiliated adoption agencies to reject prospective same-sex parents.
Also Transgender individuals would be required to live as their preferred gender for a year or receive a medical opinion before able to file a discrimination complaint. And the measure would also create a $1,000 penalty for “frivolous” discrimination complaints and prohibit local governments from enacting stricter non-discrimination ordinances.
“This bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, This doesn’t protect LGBT people — it is a road map for discrimination against LGBT people It aims to guarantee the right of some medical, social services and other institutions to discriminate against married same-sex couples, and to do so with taxpayer dollars. It aims to write separate, lesser protections for LGBT people into state law.” said Jennifer Pizer, law and policy project director at Lambda Legal.
The sham Bill would also prohibit local municipalities from passing any protections that extend beyond the state’s limitations. Specifically, “an ordinance may not establish requirements that are more stringent or otherwise are in conflict” with the bill, and any such regulation is “preempted”.
In an open letter to the governor and legislative leaders, Lambda Legal explained that it could not support legislation that:
- leaves any segment of the LGBT community behind by not offering full, explicit protections;
- treats discrimination against LGBT people differently from other forms of discrimination prohibited under Indiana law, including by the addition of hurtful carve-outs for service providers who wish to refuse to serve LGBT people for religious reasons;
- lessens or waters down protections in existing law for other groups that face discrimination;
- leave out full employment, housing, and public accommodations protections for LGBT people.
The Republicans’ bill blatantly violates all four tenets, sending a clear signal that LGBT people are not meant to enjoy equal protection under the law, in Indiana and are nothing more than hated second-class citizens.