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Government

Carmel LGBT Protection Ordinance To Go Back To City Council

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Scott Morris
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/scottmphotos/14059000321

Carmel is a step closer to passing more legal protections for the LGBT community.

The Carmel City Council's finance committee voted to send an anti-discrimination law to the full council. But the committee did so only after amending the law to give businesses cited for discrimination one chance to remedy any issues before being fined.

Under the new form of the law, businesses will get a warning first before being fined up to $500 a day for any additional acts of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The full Carmel Council is expected to vote on the measure Monday, and it appears to be supported by a majority of the council in the heavily-Republican city. It has the support of Mayor Jim Brainard and Council president Rick Sharp, typically political opponents.

“This shouldn’t be an issue that’s divided by party, but an issue that the parties come together on to solve,” Brainard says.

Supporters hope to use the increase in the number of cities passing such laws to help push for a statewide non-discrimination law in next year's legislative session, something Brainard says the Republican majority has to address eventually.

“That’s what we’re elected to do, though, is deal with difficult issues and try to move the state forward, provide good jobs in the state and it needs to be dealt with,” Brainard says.

Religious conservative groups are fighting LGBT discrimination laws, saying they would pressure Christian business owners, churches and religious organizations to violate their beliefs.

Some conservatives also believe the laws would lead to transgender people being given the right to use any public restroom of their choice; supporters of anti-discrimination laws say those are scare tactics not based in fact.

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