House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long just held a press conference to announce their legislative fix to the recently-enacted RFRA law. Language will be added to the law that RFRA cannot be used as a defense for discrimination against any class of persons, including sexual orientation and gender identity. That's all good. The current RFRA law doesn't allow that, but if explicitly saying that is what it takes to satisfy the sheeple, then so be it.
I'm reaching for the barf bag right now. Long introduced Jim "Rent-A-Civic Leader" Morris after patting on the back Eli Lilly's Mike O'Connor and Hulman & Company's Mark Miles, to speak on behalf of the business community in support of the proposed legislative fix. Morris followed by introducing a bunch of folks like former Mayor Bart Peterson, Ryan Vaughn, Mike Huber and Michael Browning, among others.
Yep. these are the folks who line their pockets all the time through insider deals, prominently including the serial flipping of the Indianapolis Water Company, that screw over the taxpayers every which way they can. Sorry, but I thank these usual suspects for nothing. It is an affront to see people who should be prosecuted for decades of public corruption in this state held up as the saviors of our state. They are the real reason people should want no part of our state. They are the people against whom the Indianapolis Star should be writing front-page editorials. How many billions of our taxpayer dollars will they be allowed to pilfer for themselves before someone does something about it and how many innocent business owners will they be allowed to destroy just for the sport of watching their painful agony?
I'm sure there are members of the gay community who will be infuriated to see the two people representing them at this event are the two people forced aside by younger gay leaders because of their past interference in progress in changing Indiana's law. In their leadership of Indiana Equality, they actually discriminated blatantly in the gay community when it came to inclusion, actually refusing to hold democratic elections of members so they could maintain their self-appointed roles. No progress was made in Indiana until they were forced out of their leadership roles. It's not surprising that they would sign on to an agreement that does not include adding protection in the state's civil rights law to protect persons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
UPDATE: Reading between the lines of this press released put out by Freedom Indiana, I take it they weren't included in this negotiations.
"The changes proposed by the Legislature represent a step in the right direction that takes us closer to achieving our goal of passing the Fairness for All Hoosiers Act.
"Today, the harm has been lessened, but we have not reached the day when LGBT Hoosiers can be assured that they can live their lives with freedom from discrimination.
"It’s long past time to enact a comprehensive nondiscrimination law, and we must continue to work to ensure, once and for all, that the RFRA cannot be used to discriminate against or hurt anyone.
"Thousands of Hoosiers and millions of Americans spoke loudly and clearly that discrimination cannot be tolerated in any form. That outcry has made all the difference.
"Facing tremendous economic damage and mounting public pressure, particularly from leading businesses in the state, lawmakers have responded with a measure to reduce the harm caused by the new law and include positive references to sexual orientation and gender identity for the first time in Indiana state law.
"These changes represent an important step forward. They fall short in many ways, and our work is far from over.
"Statewide nondiscrimination protections for LGBT Hoosiers still do not exist, meaning discrimination is still legal in most of the state.
"Businesses in Indiana, and many other employers looking to do business with our state, have made it clear that the state must pass a statewide nondiscrimination law that protects all Hoosiers from discrimination and ensures that Indiana is seen as a welcoming place to visit and do business.
"Some of the country’s leading companies – trend setters and innovators – came together to voice their support for laws to end discrimination of any kind.
"It’s time to pass a comprehensive nondiscrimination law, and we will continue to work with our allies to ensure that the RFRA cannot be used to discriminate or harm anyone.
"Indiana businesses have shown they are ready to lead. We look forward to working with them to pass statewide protections against discrimination. That campaign begins today."
Here's the fix language for the RFRA law:
SECTION 1. IC 34-13-9-0.7 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE 6 AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 7 1, 2015]: Sec. 0.7. This chapter does not:
(1) authorize a provider to refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing to any member or members of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service;
(2) establish a defense to a civil action or criminal prosecution for refusal by a provider to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing to any member or members of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service; or
(3) negate any rights available under the Constitution of the State of Indiana.
SECTION 2. IC 34-13-9-7.5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2015]: Sec. 7.5. As used in this chapter, "provider" means one (1) or more individuals, partnerships, associations, organizations, limited liability companies, corporations, and other organized groups of persons. The term does not include:
(1) A church or other nonprofit religious organization or society, including an affiliated school, that is exempt from federal income taxation under 26 U.S.C. 501(a), as amended (excluding any activity that generates unrelated business taxable income (as defined in 26 U.S.C. 512, as amended)).
(2) A rabbi, priest, preacher, minister, pastor, or designee of a church or other nonprofit religious organization or society when the individual is engaged in a religious or affiliated educational function of the church or other nonprofit religious organization or society. (Reference is to ESB 50 as reprinted March 17, 2015.)