The debate over whether to pass legislation giving civil rights protections to the LGBT community will take center stage at two Senate committee hearings today.
Democrats are proposing a bill that would add ‘four words and a comma’ to the state constitution, providing protections for people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Republicans are proposing several bills that would provide exemptions to those protections and protect religious freedom.
The Judiciary Committee will hear SB 66, authored by Sen. R Michael Young, R-Indianapolis. This legislation would repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the later “fix” that prohibited LGBT discrimination.
This bill has been called ‘super-RFRA.’ It would define several rights outlined in the state constitution, including freedom of religion, as ‘fundamental rights’ that the government cannot infringe upon unless it has a compelling interest in doing so.
The Rules & Legislative Procedure Committee will hear two bills: SB 100 and SB 344, both authored by Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle.
SB 100 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but still provides religious exemptions.
SB 344 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, but does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. It also includes religious exemptions.
If the bills advance out of committee, they will move to the Senate floor for a vote.