Indiana Governor and Legislature Continue to Fail LGBT Hoosiers and Damage Indiana’s Economy

HRC staff

Post submitted by Ryan Rowe

With the waning of the legislative session in Indiana, the current inaction of the Legislature combined with Governor Mike Pence’s continued confounding statements on nondiscrimination make it clear that Indiana’s state government has once again failed LGBT Hoosiers.

At town hall Thursday, Governor Pence continued to stand by his conflicting position that protecting LGBT Hoosiers from discrimination and religious freedom are mutually exclusive. 

Freedom Indiana, the coalition that has been fighting to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics to Indiana’s existing civil rights laws, put out a video highlighting Governor Pence’s conflicting public statements here.   

In response to a yes or no question on whether he thought lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people should be able to be fired simply because of who they are, the Governor, echoing his disappointing State of the State address, continued to dodge the question.  Initially Governor Pence answered,  “I don’t think anyone should ever be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love.” However, he followed it up by saying, “But I will not support legislation that diminishes religious freedom” in reference to the rejected attempts to put forth non-discrimination bills providing protections for LGBT Hoosiers.

Once again, the Governor backed out of clearly supporting a fully inclusive non-discrimination law and once again he perpetuated the narrative that religious freedom entails a right to discriminate against our fellow citizens.

The facts:

  • Over 250 clergy representing a wide spectrum of denominations and faiths across Indiana have stated in a public letter, op-eds and faith rallies at the capital: “Protect ALL Hoosiers. Our religious freedom does not require a right to discriminate”
  • 11 out of 12 Indiana Fortune 1000 Businesses that participated in a recent HRC survey include sexual orientation and/or gender identity in their corporate nondiscrimination policies. 
  • Indiana lost over $60 million in revenue when Governor Pence and Indiana lawmakers passed RFRA last year causing a national firestorm of businesses canceling major conferences and sporting events and the hashtag campaign #boycottIndiana 
  • A majority of Hoosiers support adding sexual orientation and gender identity protections to Indiana’s existing civil rights law.

Despite the mounting evidence, Governor Pence and the majority of Republicans in the Indiana House and Senate continue to do nothing, ignoring their constituents and further damaging the economy and reputation of their state.

HRC, along with the ACLU of Indiana and Lambda Legal, is a founding member of Freedom Indiana. For more information on how to get involved in Freedom Indiana and help fight for anti-discrimination protections for LGBT Hoosiers and visitors in state law, contact and go to

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