INDIANAPOLIS – On Tuesday, Senate Republicans rejected a proposal offered by Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) that would urge the Legislative Council to establish an interim study committee examining the issue of adding LGBT Hoosiers as a protected class within the Indiana Civil Rights Act. The proposal, defeated along party lines, was offered as an amendment to House Bill (HB) 1001, the state’s two-year budget.

“We may not yet know the full economic implications of the fallout from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act debacle,” said Sen. Lanane. “What we do know is the governor is spending two million dollars to hire an international public relations firm to repair our state’s image. In reality, the strongest action would be to fully protect the rights of LGBT Hoosiers under the Civil Rights Act.”

Sen. Lanane said the debate over RFRA exposed Indiana’s Civil Rights Act as being deficient and that the legislative “fix” passed by Statehouse Republicans and signed by the governor failed to provide statewide protections from discrimination.

“We have a lot further to go when it comes to equality in the state of Indiana,” said Sen Lanane. “We can do better, and today we could have taken the first step to ensure that everyone is protected from discrimination regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Senate Democrats offered a number of amendments to HB 1001, including alterations to the state’s school funding formula and a proposal to ensure equal pay regardless of gender. Those amendments were also defeated along party lines.