Senate leader: no consensus on gay rights protections

Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.)

Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.)

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Senate’s leader says his fellow Republicans aren’t in agreement on extending state civil rights protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long said on Tuesday’s opening day of the 2016 legislative session that a Senate committee would take up a proposal that would broaden such protections but include exemptions for small businesses and religious institutions that object to working with lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people.

But Long says he won’t predict the outcome of the debate that follows last spring’s national uproar over the state’s religious objections law, which opponents maintained would have provided a legal basis for LGBT discrimination.

Long says he believes Republican Gov. Mike Pence is being prudent in not taking a public stance on the issue.

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