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Freedom Indiana commends passage of updated Evansville human rights ordinance February 23, 2016

February 23, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS — Freedom Indiana, the statewide grassroots organization fighting to update existing Indiana laws against discrimination to include gay and transgender people, commended the City of Evansville for updating its human rights ordinance (HRO) to offer actual protections to gay and transgender people.

The Evansville City Council voted 7-2 last night to amend its existing HRO to give the Human Relations Commission enforcement and investigatory powers into claims of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The previous city ordinance included sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected class, but investigations were voluntary.

“This is a big step in the right direction at the local level, but it’s also a continued sign that we need to have strong statewide protections in place,” said Freedom Indiana campaign manager Chris Paulsen.

“Without statewide protections, gay and transgender people have to depend on a patchwork of protections in places like Evansville. Unfortunately, once they leave Evansville or any of the other cities and counties that have HROs, they’re once again subject to legal discrimination based on who they are,” she said.

Freedom Indiana continues to push lawmakers at the Statehouse to amend full protections for LGBT people into a bill that is moving through the legislative process, which must conclude by March 15.