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Legislature Won't Study LGBT Rights In Summer Committees

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Jim Grey
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/

Republican legislative leaders say a formal study on creating civil rights protections for the LGBT community won’t happen this year -- but they say they’ll be thinking about the issue regardless.

Republican leaders admitted earlier this year that controversy surrounding the religious freedom bill fast-forwarded the debate around adding LGBT protections to the state’s civil rights statute. 

But the topic didn’t make it onto the list of issues lawmakers will officially study this summer.  Senate GOP Leader David Long (R-Fort Wayne) notes the LGBT rights issue isn’t alone– about two-thirds of suggested topics didn’t make the cut.

“But that doesn’t mean we won’t be talking about it, analyzing it; that’ll go on quietly through the summer,” Long says.

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) admits he personally doesn’t need to study the issue; he’s firmly in support of adding LGBT protections to state law.

“But in a larger sense, for those who don’t share my point of view, they’re going to have to continue to be exposed to the facts," Pelath says. "They’re going to have to continue to be exposed to changing ideals that exist out there in the general public.”

Both Long and Pelath say that with or without a study committee, there will be legislation next session to amend Indiana’s civil rights law.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.