Indy Star Article Asks if Local Ordinances Really Protect LGBT Residents — And Points Out Caveats in Bloomington Ordinance

Good article in yesterday’s Indy Star following the intense attention to RFRA and its possible effects: Do local laws really protect rights of LGBT Hoosiers?

The second paragraph of the article summarizes its conclusions:

“But even though Marion County and 10 other Hoosier communities already have local nondiscrimination ordinances that include sexual orientation, experts say such protections can be so weak that they are virtually unenforceable.”

The article points out the communities that have some local regulations that protect LGBT residents:

  • Indianapolis, Marion County, West Lafayette, New Albany, South Bend, Evansville, Bloomington, and Monroe County all have local ordinances that protect both sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Terre Haute, Michigan City, Lafayette, and Tippecanoe County have local ordinances that protect sexual orientation but not gender identity

The upshot of all of this discussion is that protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity must be added to statute in order to ensure legal enforceability of these protections — and we need to continue to press our representatives in Indianapolis to do the right thing. However, I do leave this discussion wondering if we really need to be so deferential to a potentially over-cautious interpretation of home rule in Indiana.

The local human rights ordinances in Bloomington and Monroe County can be found here:

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