Indiana GOP Caves to Gay Rights Lobby-Proposed Group Protections Bill

Demonstrators gather at Karst Farm Park on March 31, 2015 in Bloomington, Indiana. Responding to widespread criticism nationally over the state's new controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence today called on the Republican-controlled general assembly …
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Despite historic and massive majorities in both houses of the state legislature, Indiana’s GOP leaders appear on the verge of capitulating to the demands of a campaign conducted by the national gay rights lobby to extend special rights and group protections to members of Indiana’s  “LGBT” community.

A proposal endorsed yesterday by the Republican president of Indiana Senate would formally extend such protections to “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

As Indiana Republican state legislators gathered for their annual Organization Day activities in Indianapolis, Republican Senate President David Long hailed a bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Travis Holdman as a good “first attempt” at creating special protections for Gays and Lesbians in Indiana.

“The goal,” Long told reporters, “is to provide balance with regard to discrimination, as well as religious liberty.” Long attempted to squelch opposition within his caucus that the bill would sacrifice religious liberty on the alter of gay rights by pointing to language that he said would exempt small wedding-related businesses from having to do work for a gay or lesbian couple.

In 2014, voters rewarded Republicans 40 of the State Senate’s 50 seats, giving them an unprecedented majority. Not a single GOP Senate candidate campaigned on a platform promising to extend special protections and or group rights for gay, lesbian, or transgender Hoosiers.

Hoosier legislators and businesses have faced an intense pressure campaign orchestrated by the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington based gay rights lobby financed by the far left billionaire George Soros.

One provision of the GOP proposed bill would enable transgender people to pursue discrimination complaints against employers or service providers one year after the date of an official gender change filing. Long pointed out that the bill would seek to protect gender specific bathrooms and shower facilities by allowing businesses and organizations to enforce their own rules and policies related to those facilities.

Additionally, Long says it would overturn a patchwork of municipal ordinances addressing the issue in favor of one consistent standard across the state.

“We’re considering it a roadmap for discrimination and not a set of meaningful protections for LGBT people,” said Jennifer Pizer, a lawyer for Lambda Legal, which supports gay rights.

How voters in a state that just granted unprecedented majority powers to Republican legislators will respond to those very leaders now leading a campaign to extend special protections and group rights to LGBT people is unknown. As of Wednesday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a staunch social conservative, said he had not yet studied the GOP proposal and thus would not offer comment.

Ever since last spring’s passage of a bill called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, designed to protect the religious liberties of Hoosier citizens and businesses, the national gay rights lobby, lead by the Human Rights Campaign, specifically targeted Indiana’s interest groups representing big business to join them in pushing to adopt their special interest agenda or ‘suffering the consequences’. In an extraordinary move, the Gannett-owned Indianapolis Star newspaper, once Indiana’s most important news organ, openly announced it would use what remains of its editorial and commercial powers to push for the adoption of HRC’s special interest agenda.


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