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WATCH: 'Sneak Attack' Video Uses Dishonest Scare Tactics Over LGBT Rights in Indiana 

WATCH: 'Sneak Attack' Video Uses Dishonest Scare Tactics Over LGBT Rights in Indiana 

Eric Miller
Eric Miller

A right-wing activist claims falsely that the state will enact such a law without letting the public weigh in, and that the law will harm families and children.

A right-wing group's video warning of a "sneak attack" on families and children in Indiana may signal that debate over LGBT rights legislation in the state will be marked by scare tactics.

"A sneak attack could take place on Tuesday, November 17, at the Statehouse to pass a bill that will harm the families and the children of Indiana -- your children and your grandchildren," Eric Miller of conservative group Advance America says in the video, posted online this week (watch it below). "According to reliable sources, this sneak attack is being orchestrated by key political leaders and powerful special interest groups and corporations that have millions of dollars to spend to control the legislative process."

Miller doesn't give much information about the supposed bill beyond saying it involves "sexual activity and children," but he repeats the phrase about interest groups, corporations, and their millions several times. He claims lawmakers will pass the measure without allowing the public to review and comment on it.

Only problem: Legislators have no such plan, The Indianapolis Starreports.

November 17 is the legislature's "organization day." Lawmakers generally meet in mid-November to appoint committees for the upcoming session, which begins in January, and they do not consider legislation until the session starts.

"Let me be perfectly clear," House Speaker Brian Bosma, a Republican, tweeted Thursday, according to the Star. "There is no 'sneak attack' planned for organization day. A simple phone call would have clarified that." His spokeswoman, Erin Reese, later added, "Under no circumstances have there been any discussions about taking a vote on org day."

Senate Majority Floor Leader Brandt Hershman posted on Facebook that he had consulted with Senate President David Long, and confirmed that the Senate likewise had no plans to take a vote. Hershman, also a Republican, got in a jab at the content of Miller's video.

"During last session's contentious debate over religious freedom and LGBT issues, I was deeply troubled by the actions of interest groups on the Left and the Right who sought to manipulate the debate for their own purposes," Hershman posted. "I was reminded of that today when I was forwarded an email from one of these groups claiming a 'sneak attack' is to occur on the General Assembly's Organization Day."

There certainly was "contentious debate" over Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which opponents said amounted to a license for businesses and individuals to discriminate against those who offend their religious principles, especially LGBT people. After a nationwide outcry over the law by corporations as well as activist groups, legislators and Gov. Mike Pence agreed to amend it to assure it wouldn't be used as an excuse to turn away customers or ignore municipal LGBT rights ordinances.

The situation pointed up the fact that Indiana has no statewide law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and LGBT activists and allies hope legislators will consider enacting one soon. Six cities have passed LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances since the RFRA controversy, while attempts failed in two others.

Miller's video "is only the latest signal of just how strident the debate at the Statehouse is likely to become," the Star reports. "Debates over city ordinances have already included accusations of scare tactics and bigotry. In Goshen, for example, some charged that gender identity protections could allow predatory men to enter women's bathrooms." Goshen considered an LGBT rights ordinance but failed to pass it.

Miller did not respond to the Star's multiple requests for comment, but another religious right activist defended his video. "This is not some benign nicety being considered," Micah Clark of the American Family Association of Indiana told the paper. "It is radical social engineering to tear down societal norms and boundaries and to silence those who disagree."

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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