The following is reaction from various Hoosier groups and individuals on the Senate’s failure to move forward with SB 344, which added sexual orientation to the state’s civil rights code.

Freedom Indiana

  • “The fact that Senate Bill 344 won’t be heard on the Senate floor is incredibly disappointing given strong statewide support for updating our civil rights law and all the work that has been done thus far at the Statehouse to keep this conversation going.  This bill and others introduced this session were deeply flawed, but we were working hard to fix Senate Bill 344.  We’ve said from the outset that doing nothing was not an option. Today, lawmakers did nothing to help protect LGBT people in our state, but our work is only just beginning.  The issue of legal discrimination against hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers will not go away, and we will continue to fight this session to update our civil rights law and undo the damage done to our state last year.  The legislative process is just that — a process. The conversation should continue in the coming weeks and months, not be shut down without a vote on the Senate floor.”

Indiana Pastors Alliance

  • “The Indiana Pastors Alliance would like to thank the Indiana Senate for removing SB344 and affirming Religious Liberty for all Hoosiers. Again, we affirm equal rights and not “special rights” or “special carve-outs” for Religious liberty and freedom of conscience. Many Indiana Legislators have come to the understanding that we can be accommodating and tolerant without government violating our most basic of foundational rights of conscience and the free exercise of religion.  “

Tech for Equality

  • “To say that we are disappointed that Senate Bill 344 was not given a vote on the floor of the Indiana State Senate is an understatement,” said Tech for Equality Co-Chair Bill Oesterle. “It is very clearly in our economic interest as a state to send a message loud and clear that discrimination is not acceptable in Indiana. More importantly, it is in our best interest to ensure that our laws reflect our values of fairness and Hoosier Hospitality. We hope the legislature will find a way to resolve this issue now.”
 Indiana Competes
  • “The Hoosier business community is deeply disappointed by the actions of the Indiana Senate today. From the outset, companies large and small organized together to work with lawmakers to find a sensible solution that provides equal protections for LGBT Hoosiers and tells the true story about the negative effects of RFRA on our state’s economy. Indiana’s economic competitiveness and the Hoosier brand have potentially been compromised again. Failure to continue working toward a remedy casts doubt on the sincerity of the Senate’s effort.  SB 344 was a flawed bill, but it generated the most substantive conversation Indiana has seen regarding anti-discrimination legislation for the LGBT community.  This issue will not disappear. The economic damage from RFRA still persists as equality plays a critical role in our economic success. A clear majority of Hoosiers support robust protections from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Business leaders remain committed to passing such protections in this legislative session and call loudly for leadership in the Statehouse to seriously address the issue.”

Joe Hogsett, Indianapolis Mayor

  • “Today’s decision by legislative leaders to abandon a discussion of civil rights is incredibly disappointing. Over the last year, Indianapolis neighborhoods have felt the multi-million dollar impact of this debate – in an effort to develop jobs, in our search for a talented workforce, and when we are soliciting national convention business.  Indianapolis has extended civil rights protections to LGBT residents and visitors for more than a decade, and our community has only been strengthened by welcoming all. By refusing to take a step forward in the march toward equality this year, the General Assembly risks Indiana falling even more behind.”

Kevin Brinegar, State Chamber of Commerce

  • “Compromise should not be viewed as a four-letter word. Extremely passionate advocates and opponents on this issue have deemed compromise of any kind a bad outcome – when compromise is typically how things get done in the Legislature.  It’s frustrating and disappointing that the Senate was unable to move this critical issue forward. Senators Holdman and Long deserve credit for their efforts, but the bottom line is that this inaction – coupled with the RFRA black eye last spring — leaves Indiana at a disadvantage in the recruitment, attraction and retention of talented individuals.  All of our state leaders must find a way to work together to craft a solution; the Indiana Chamber will continue to advocate for expanded civil rights protections.”

Michael Huber, Greater Indianapolis  Chamber of Commerce

  • “Senate Bill 344, while not perfect, was a major step forward in extending protections to LGBT Hoosiers – and ultimately helping Indiana remain competitive for top talent and investment. Despite its failure in the Senate, the expansion of statewide non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity remains squarely on the pro-business agenda. An open and inclusive culture is part of a healthy business climate and we’ve worked hard to encourage that kind of environment here. Inaction, or any bill that does not advance the issue, only serves to put roadblocks in the way of advancement, a price our economy cannot afford to pay.  We appreciate the leadership of senators David Long and Travis Holdman on this issue and for allowing this thoughtful debate.”