Senate Bill 344, a proposal being offered as an alternative to Senate Bill 100 allegedly aims to protect LGBTQ people in Indiana; however, the bill is a non-starter with a host of problems, including:

  • It offers zero protections for transgender people in Indiana
  • It codifies second-class status for gay Hoosiers by carving out targeted religious exemptions.
  • It eliminates local authority to pass new laws that provide greater protections for gay and transgender people.
  • It draws overly broad religious exemptions, including allowing:

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By Jane Henegar

You may have heard Governor Pence, in his State of the State address, challenging all of us to find a way in which religious liberty can co-exist alongside civil rights laws, including civil rights laws updated to protect gay and transgender Hoosiers.

The American Civil Liberties Union has fought long and hard for religious liberty for all faiths for nearly 100 years and we believe that freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination, both protected by the Constitution, can coexist.

As a nation grappling with how to address discrimination in a diverse society, we have decided again and again that, in this narrow conflict, freedom from discrimination prevails.

Every American enjoys broad and important religious liberty rights. For instance, clergy and faith leaders, not the government, determine which marriages their religious organizations officiate and bless. The ACLU would defend the constitutional rights of any pastor, rabbi, imam, priest or other faith leader if government tried to dictate the nature of their religious rites or ceremonies. The free exercise clause of the First Amendment protects those faith-based decisions. Further, existing Indiana civil rights law preserves full discretion for religious organizations in their hiring decisions. These current protections for religious organizations will not change.

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December 1, 2015

On November 17, 2015, legislative leaders in the Indiana General Assembly introduced Senate Bill 100—legislation that, if improved, would update Indiana's civil rights law to add protections for gay and transgender Hoosiers from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Religious freedom is fundamentally important; that's why it's protected in our state and federal Constitutions. But that doesn't give any of us the right to discriminate against others. The most troubling parts of this legislation must be improved before it can achieve its aim of addressing discrimination against gay and transgender people in Indiana.

We applaud legislative leaders for recognizing that public accommodations—businesses that sell their goods and services to the general public—should be included in anti-discrimination protections, and for recognizing that transgender people, who experience some of the most extreme discrimination, are part of our community.

We are encouraged that lawmakers have made this issue a clear priority for 2016, but now that we've had a chance to review SB 100 in greater detail, our encouragement from this first step is tempered by the serious flaws in the legislation, as written, that would undermine current civil rights protections as well as seriously limit any added protections it affords to gay and transgender Hoosiers.

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June 26, 2015

MY VIEW: Jane Henegar "We won marriage, now let's ensure full equality"

"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people be­come something greater than once they were....It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves....They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. It is so ordered.

--Supreme Court of the United States, Obergefell v. Hodges, June 26, 2015

Friday's historic decision is a joyous one for same-sex couples across the nation and for everyone who wants to participate fully in our society and enter, in front of friends and family, into the lifelong commitment of marriage with the person they love.

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August 25, 2015

Why is Constitution Day so important?

According to the 2015 Indiana Civic Health Index, Indiana is third in the nation for social connectivity through family relationships and 20th for individual participation in group associations. Yet, only 69 percent of us registered to vote in the last presidential election—putting us at 37th in the country—and our participation in school, neighborhood and community associations has declined, moving us to 44th nationally.

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