INDIANAPOLIS | The state's largest and most powerful business organization announced Thursday that it wants the General Assembly to add protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Hoosiers to Indiana's civil rights laws.
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, which includes more than 100 top business executives and civic leaders from across the state, overwhelmingly endorsed including sexual orientation and gender identity in the anti-discrimination statutes.
"The time has come for Indiana to expand protections against potential discrimination," said Kevin Brinegar, chamber president. "After the negative perception of our state generated by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the spring, we need to get this right in order to secure the reputation of Indiana as a hospitable and welcoming place."
Brinegar said business leaders believe adding the protections will increase Indiana's competitiveness in recruiting and keeping top employees, and promote respect for all employers and employees.
"We encourage our state leaders to work together to take this next critical step," he said.
Debates over whether to expand civil rights protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity are expected to dominate to the 2016 session of the Republican-controlled Legislature, which convenes Jan. 5.