Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Civil rights and LGBT? Indiana Republicans vow to keep us barefoot, stupid and mean-spirited.

Fundamental change, just so long as nothing fundamentally changes. It sounds almost like a Gahan campaign promise.

Indiana legislators foreshadow LGBT rights battle, by Maureen Hayden (CNHI via N & T)

INDIANAPOLIS — Any speculation that state lawmakers would wait until after the November election to debate civil rights for lesbian, gay and transgender Hoosiers is gone.

On Monday, state Senate President David Long, Fort Wayne, said legislators will soon see what he called a “comprehensive” bill that may extend anti-discrimination protections while allowing people to also claim religious freedom to deny those protections ... Long, a Republican, refused to give details of the proposed measure that will be filed when lawmakers return to the Statehouse for their short, 10-week session in January.

Even the Chamber of Commerce is urging the GOP to be rational. The House Speaker apparently sees bigotry as the state's biggest growth industry, with final word reserved for the Minority Leader.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, meanwhile, said the Legislature won’t be “bullied, badgered or blackmailed” into passing a measure that isn’t supported by most Hoosiers.

At the chamber’s legislative preview Monday, Bosma promised a civil debate would ensue, but he admitted it could be difficult.

“This is clearly the toughest issue of the session,” he said, "maybe the toughest issue of our [legislative] careers.”

That’s not how his Democratic counterpart sees it. House Minority Leader Scott Pelath said legislators could simply pass a bill that adds four words: “sexual orientation, gender identity” to the state’s civil rights law. And then move on to other pressing issues like road funding.

“My advice,” he said, “is to get it over with.”

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