A Republican leader in Indiana admitted Monday that discriminating against LGBT people was legal in most of the state — but not because of a new “religious freedom” law.
Facing a growing backlash, Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) and House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) held a press conference to discuss the state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The GOP leaders said they planned to clarify that the new law doesn’t allow businesses and individuals to deny service to LGBT people on religious grounds.
But during the press conference, a reporter noted that Indiana does not have a state law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“You guys have said repeatedly that we shouldn’t be able to discriminate against anyone, but if you just ignore the existence of this law, can’t we already do that now? Can’t so-and-so in Richmond put a sign up and say ‘No Gays Allowed?'” she asked. “That’s not against the law, correct?”
“It would depend,” Bosma replied. “If you were in a community that had a human rights ordinance that wouldn’t be the case.”
“But most of the state does not have that, correct?” the reporter pressed.
“That’s correct,” Bosma admitted.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, only the cities of Bloomington, Evansville, Indianapolis, and South Bend prohibit discrimination against LGBT people, along with Marion County and Monroe County.
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