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Democrats Trying To Resurrect LGBT Rights Debate

Noah Coffey

House Democrats say they won’t let the LGBT rights debate die this session.

Senate lawmakers killed a bill earlier this week that aimed to protect lesbian, gay and bisexual Hoosiers from discrimination.  House Democrats are looking for ways to work the issue into another bill -- though House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says the odds aren’t good.

The gay rights bill – Senate Bill 344 – failed to advance out of the Senate before the session’s first half deadline after Republican leadership said they couldn’t muster enough support for the measure. 

But House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) says Democrats won’t give up on the issue, using whatever methods they can.

“There is going to be a talk over here in the House of Representatives, even if the leaders of this chamber are uncomfortable with the discussion,” Pelath says.

That effort could involve Democrats trying to amend LGBT rights into another bill.  But generally speaking, amendments must be what’s called “germane” to be included – meaning the subject matters must be similar.  Speaker Brian Bosma says he doesn’t think such a bill exists.

“A major change in our civil rights code that’s highly controversial, as depicted by the discussion surrounding 34 -- it’s really not appropriate subject matter to try to do on the fly in a second reading amendment,” Bosma says.

On the Democrats’ side, Pelath says he hasn’t yet identified which bills his caucus will target for such an amendment.  

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.
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