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By IBJ Staff
It’s a new year—with many of the same old problems. Here are a few prominent examples, complete with what we think should happen in the year ahead:
- The equality issue of our time—equal rights for the LGBT community—saw significant progress in 2015. Gay marriage is now the law of the land, but in Indiana there is damage to repair and a final chapter to be written in this seemingly endless culture war.
Those who perpetuate the war through their reluctance to accept equality are preparing to do battle yet again in the Indiana General Assembly. Having lost the battle to preserve marriage as an institution exclusive to heterosexual couples, religious conservatives are now facing fallout from last year’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Their cherished RFRA legislation backfired on the entire state, damaging Indiana’s reputation and putting business interests at risk.
Negative reaction to the act was so strong it pushed to the forefront an issue RFRA supporters certainly didn’t intend to draw attention to: the absence of civil rights protections for LGBT Hoosiers, who are now protected from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation only if they live in a city or town with a rights ordinance.
Extending equal rights statewide could be as simple as adding a few words to the state’s civil rights act, but opponents of such a fix say it would trample the religious freedom of those whose faiths do not accept homosexuality. They cite in part their adherence to Scripture, a view that overlooks the Bible’s acceptance of myriad other misguided ideas, including slavery and the mistreatment of women.
Gov. Mike Pence and other Republicans should agree to the simple fix or work progressively on a Senate GOP caucus plan that tries to strike a balance.SHARE THIS STORY