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Dems Say Statewide LGBT Bill Is Their First Priority In 2016 Session

Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana Senate Democrats have unveiled what they call a simple and powerful approach to enshrine lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender non-discrimination language in the state’s civil rights statute. 

The Senate Democrats’ proposal essentially adds four words to the list of people protected by the state civil rights law: “sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) says doing so would fulfill a fundamental Hoosier value that all people deserve equal protection under the law. 

And while Lanane’s caucus only makes up 10 members out of 50 in the Senate, he says their approach is one the public is looking for.

“Someone has to come forward and say, ‘Here’s the simplest, the easiest way but yet the way which will afford the most protection,’” he says.

Lananealso acknowledges there can be some room for compromise on the proposal.

“But what you don’t want to do is provide exceptions that swallow up the rest of the law.”

Republican legislative leaders, Governor Mike Pence and Hoosier business leaders have been working behind closed doors to develop their own proposal for LGBT civil rights -- but indications are they’re not close to a solution. 

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