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Indiana Senate approves bill allowing discrimination against LGBT people

Indiana Senate approves bill allowing discrimination against LGBT people

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana state Senate on Tuesday approved a bill designed to allow private businesses, individuals and organizations to refuse services for same-sex weddings because of religious beliefs.

IndianaThe measure, SB 101, was approved by a vote of 40-10, and now heads to the House.

The bill would prohibit any state laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs and has definition of a “person” that includes religious institutions, corporations, partnerships and associations.

“We have seen this over and over – bills that say they are about protecting one thing when the real goal is to target and discriminate against LGBT people, with vast implications for everyone else,” said Jennifer Pizer, National Director of Lambda Legal’s Law and Policy Project, in a statement.

“As written, this bill will upend the balance between religious freedom and freedom from imposition of others’ religious beliefs,” she said. “SB 101 extends religious exercise rights to for-profit companies of all sizes – no matter what goods they make or services they sell, they’re treated much like churches.”

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and some business executives have argued that the proposal could hurt the state’s reputation and make it more difficult to attract companies.

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