Report: Indiana Lawmakers To Propose Changes To Protect LGBT Individuals

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April 2, 2015 8:22 a.m.

Indiana lawmakers have agreed on changes to the controversial religious freedom bill that will protect gays and lesbians from discrimination, the Indianapolis Star reported on Thursday morning.

According to the Star, the altered legislation will prohibit businesses from using the religious freedom law to defend discrimination against customers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. However, the law will not make gays and lesbians a protected class under civil rights law. Lawmakers also added protections for gays and lesbians in housing and employment, according to the Star.

The legislation exempts churches and religious nonprofits from the language prohibiting providers from discriminating against gays and lesbians, according to the Star.

Following intense backlash against the Indiana religious freedom law and concerns that the legislation would permit discrimination against gays and lesbians, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) asked the legislature to change the legislation and clarify that it does not allow discrimination.

According to the Star, lawmakers will introduce the altered legislation at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R) told the Star that he’s optimistic that lawmakers will accept the deal.

“We feel there is a strong consensus,” he said on Wednesday night. “We feel good about it. We did a lot of hard work to bring the groups together to find the comfort level everyone feels does the job of truly saying this does not discriminate against anyone.”

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