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Friday, November 20, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - "Senate Bill 100 is just a starting point, they say. But in that mess of exemptions, is this really about equal rights?"

Re the proposed "civil rights" bill unveiled by the Senate majority on Tuesday, here is a snippet from Dave Bangert's column today in the Lafayette Journal & Courier:

Is this about optics — or barnyard stink — after last year’s national disaster surrounding the passage of RFRA and then the attempts to cover it up? Or is it about a genuine effort to be a state committed to equal rights when it comes to public accommodations, housing and job security?

Senate Bill 100 — 21 pages of exemptions cobbled together around the vague assurance that gays and lesbians should be full Indiana citizens, sort of — makes it clear that the Senate, at least, isn’t quite sure.

If it was, Senate Bill 100 wouldn’t go out of its way to trump the work local governments have been pioneering in the field — or better yet, have been risking their political necks to get done, absent support or, really, any degree of recognition from the General Assembly.

If there’s one thing the General Assembly loves, it has to be attempts to trample home rule. And Senate Bill 100 has that covered with a provision that would essentially override the city, county and town human relations ordinances dealing with sexual orientation or gender identity.

That was a big concern last spring for Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski and West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis, who spent time trying to figure out whether the original version of Indiana’s RFRA was going to wipe out gay and lesbian protections that had been in their cities’ human relations ordinances since the mid-‘90s. (Bandwagon late-comers to this equal rights party, Greater Lafayette ain’t.)

Why would the Greater Lafayette delegation tolerate a bill that proposes a step backward into equal rights for some and negotiated rights for others? Why would the Greater Lafayette delegation allow compromise on things this community has lived with for more than 20 years?

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 20, 2015 09:09 AM
Posted to Indiana Government