LGBT rights

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

The Kokomo City Council has passed an ordinance expanding civil rights protections to the LGBT community.

Monday’s vote was 5-4 – the same as a preliminary tally earlier this month -- and it did not come without some controversy.

Some business owners wanted assurances that the new ordinance would not be used to force them to do something against their conscience or to make them a target for saying no to a gay couple.

And Council member Robert Hayes says at least one of his colleagues received a threat prior to the vote.

Jim Grey /

The 2016 Indiana legislative session may be remembered as much for what lawmakers didn’t pass as much as for what they did. 

While leadership dubbed this the “roads” session, it did not produce a long term road funding solution.

The general assembly also failed to produce a definitive position on LGBT civil rights.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith wraps up the 119th General Assembly with a review of a few passes and big issues that found an answer.

Courtesy Crawfordsville Mayor's Office

As often happens on the last day of a legislative session, schedules change and rules are suspended, but the show must go on and deadlines must be met. Such is the case with this week’s Ask The Mayor, featuring Crawfordsville’s Todd Barton pinch-hitting during the second Thursday of the month for Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski. 

We probe Mayor Barton’s thoughts on a push by the League of Women Voters to establish a non-partisan commission to draw Indiana’s legislative boundaries.

Kokomo May Be Next City To Adopt LGBT Protections Law

Mar 8, 2016
Benson Kua /

UPDATE: March 8

The Kokomo City Council has preliminarily voted to expand civil rights protections to LGBT individuals.

The council's 5-4 vote came after a contentious meeting.

The ordinance will receive a second reading March 14. If the council approves it again, Mayor Greg Goodnight says he’ll sign it into law.

More than a dozen Indiana cities have adopted similar protections, with many taking action since last spring’s uproar over Indiana’s religious objections law.


Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The vast majority of House Republicans dismissed a Democratic amendment Thursday that would’ve barred employment discrimination against the LGBT community. 

The Democrats’ efforts to keep the LGBT debate alive took the form of an amendment on the House floor to a bill on workforce policies.  The proposed provision would have barred LGBT discrimination in the workplace via hiring, benefits, scheduling and working conditions. 

Scott Pelath / Indiana House Democrats

House Democrats say the closing of Carrier plants in Indianapolis and Huntington shows Republicans have gotten the economy wrong.

Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) argues the move of 2,100 to Mexico proves Republican initiatives, from right-to-work to corporate tax cuts to the repeal of the common construction wage, haven't worked.

“We continue to have very low economic growth,” Pelath says. “We continue to have negligible, if not negative, wage growth and we don’t see any real improvements here.”

Gretchen Frazee /

The abrupt death of legislation aimed at balancing religious freedom with gay, lesbian and bisexual civil rights left many civil rights advocates surprised, disappointed and pointing fingers as they sought to assign blame.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Drew Daudelin reports that finger-pointing could have a ripple effect on this year’s elections as people on all sides of the issue begin looking ahead to the May primary and November general elections.

Noah Coffey /

House Democrats say they won’t let the LGBT rights debate die this session.

Senate lawmakers killed a bill earlier this week that aimed to protect lesbian, gay and bisexual Hoosiers from discrimination.  House Democrats are looking for ways to work the issue into another bill -- though House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says the odds aren’t good.

The gay rights bill – Senate Bill 344 – failed to advance out of the Senate before the session’s first half deadline after Republican leadership said they couldn’t muster enough support for the measure. 

Conservative Groups Hope To Use RFRA To Quash Four Cities' LGBT Protections

Feb 3, 2016
Joseph Hren / WFIU

Four Indiana cities are facing a lawsuit challenging LGBT protections in their human rights ordinances.

The complaint alleges the local laws in Bloomington, Columbus, Indianapolis and Carmel violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act lawmakers passed last year.

Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop says the city stands behind its human rights ordinance.  

“The people that are suing us, they didn’t tell us, they told the newspaper, so I think it gives you a little bit of insight of what their motives are, but nonetheless, we intend to defend ourselves,” Lienhoop says.

Brandon Smith /

The Indiana Senate killed a bill Tuesday that would have protected lesbian, gay, and bisexual Hoosiers from discrimination.

The final version of the bill did not protect the transgender community. 

The proposed measure had 27 potential amendments filed on the Senate floor. 

But none of them were publicly discussed after Senate Republican leadership opted not to call the bill to the floor for a vote.