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Business, Economy and Consumer Affairs

Cities Scramble To Negate State's Bad RFRA Press, Save Their Investments

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David Lofink
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/lofink/4344960203

29-percent of Hoosiers live in places with local ordinances protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination. And that proportion could grow in the wake of last week‘s religious freedom controversy.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard blasted the now-revised religious objections law as "ridiculous." Carmel already has an executive order prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in city hiring -- Brainard says he‘ll send the city council an ordinance to add sexual orientation to local civil rights laws.

Brainard says Carmel is home to 75 national or regional corporate headquarters, and can‘t afford to be associated with a perception of exclusion.

Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness says he wants his city‘s laws to reflect its values, but he says he wants to be "thoughtful" in addressing the issue. He says he‘ll discuss it with Fishers‘ city attorney in the coming months.

But Fadness cautions that Fishers’ proclamation last week celebrating diversity, or an ordinance placing specific protections in municipal code, can’t offset perceptions of the state as a whole.

Even after legislators clarified the religious-objection law by explicitly banning discrimination, Fadness says one company reported its plans to move employees to Fishers from California were undone by workers who fought the transfer because of the law.

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