Indiana Senate Bill 344 – stripping transgender protections from LGBT rights

Authored by Sen. Travis Holdman and Sen. Brandt Hershman, SB344 was introduced on January 7th and referred to Committee on Rules & Legislative Procedure. This bill strips out all protections from transgender Hoosiers and sends the “gender identity” to a summer study committee.

Download and read the current full text of the bill here on our website: SB0344.01.INTR.pdf or see the version on the state legislature’s website. The version on the state legislature website will be updated as the bill moves through the legislative process.

Civil rights. Prohibits discriminatory practices in acquisition or sale of real estate, housing, education, public accommodations, employment, the extending of credit, and public contracts based on military active duty status, or sexual orientation. Provides protections for religious liberty and conscience. Limits the adoption of a civil rights ordinance after December 31, 2015, that applies to a class of persons not covered by state law. Permits local civil rights agencies to order the employment of a veteran. Provides that the provisions of this act are nonseverable. Provides for a study of the civil rights issues related to gender identity.

Relevant passage:

25 council shall assign the topic of discrimination based on gender
26 identity to an appropriate interim study committee for study
27 during the 2016 interim. The interim study committee may study
28 any issue related to the topic. The interim study committee shall
29 study what uniformly applicable, statewide laws are appropriate
30 for Indiana and exemptions are needed to protect personal privacy,
31 personal modesty, or the free exercise of religious rights or the
32 rights of conscience. The interim study committee to which the
33 topic is assigned shall report to the legislative council its
34 recommendations for legislation designed to aid in the removing of
35 discrimination on the basis of sexual identity.
36 (b) This SECTION expires November 1, 2016.
37 SECTION 24. An emergency is declared for this act.

Obviously, stripping out gender identity and sending it as an issue to a summer study committee is a slap in the face to transgender Hoosiers.

And just as obviously, we fully expect the LGB community to immediately reject SB344 as unsuitable for passage and to demand that gender identity be included. If any LGBT group advocates passing SB344 as is and getting around to including gender identity at a later time, we will not be working with them in the future.

There is no need to “study” the subject of gender identity in order to determine if we need protections. The fact that we are being killed in the streets, consigned to unemployment lines and harassed in public places makes it obvious these protections are needed.

Indianapolis has had civil rights protections for gender identity for over 10 years – the “study” and education that was available then is all available today. This is not a difficult issue.

Media Coverage of SB344

Indy Star: What LGBT bills would — and would not — do

Indiana Business Journal: Bill would protect sexual orientation, punt on gender identity

WIBC: New civil rights bill would not include protections for transgendered people

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: Rights bill omits transgender issue

The Statehouse File: Alternative civil rights bill doesn’t include transgender protections

NUVO Newsweekly: Embarrassment: Indiana Republicans can’t get enough

Tri State Homepage: Indiana Lawmaker Introduces Bills on Civil Rights, Religious Liberty

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