Lawmakers in Indiana are feeling the heat from business leaders, voters, and the local media about enacting protections against anti-LGBT discrimination in the wake of last year’s religious freedom act debacle. But a Republican state senator wants to keep anti-transgender discrimination legal, while GOP House leaders are declaring LGBT protections are not even on their priority list for the 2016 session.
Sen. Travis Holdman filed a new bill Thursday, Senate Bill 334, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity, effectively taking the T out of LGBT protections, reports the The Indianapolis Star.
Holdman told Indianapolis TV station WXIN that other lawmakers and constituents had expressed concerns over the inclusion of gender identity in proposed legislation. He said transgender protections should be kept out of the bill and studied further at a summer committee. It would not override existing municipal ordinances but would prevent cities and counties from enacting new protections for trans people.
LGBT activists were quick to object. "This bill is a non-starter that offers zero protections for transgender people in Indiana. Freedom Indiana cannot and will not support that. We are for full protections for all LGBT people,” said Chris Paulsen of Freedom Indiana in an emailed statement. “Transgender Hoosiers are everyday Hoosiers. And we don’t study people. Study committees are for roads, bridges, things like that, and we don’t study people.”
Also Thursday, Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma unveiled his party’s legislative agenda for 2016. It includes a push for infrastructure improvements, a scholarship to attract candidates for teaching jobs, and drug trafficking legislation.
Protections for LGBT Hoosiers didn’t make the list.
“I just don’t think it was a priority for legislative leaders,” Bosma told WIXN. “I think there was some discussion about it. We have life-or-death situations on the board behind me right now.”
Watch the report from WIXN below.