News (USA)

Evansville officials vote to bolster LGBT protections

The Evansville ordinance exempts churches, religiously affiliated nonprofits, religious schools and other official religious organizations from the city commission’s enforcement reach.

That didn’t satisfy opponents who argued it still impedes on religious liberty.

Darrell Rice, pastor at The Connection Church, said the ordinance is not needed and some people fear their businesses will be targeted for not wanting to provide services to people with whom they don’t normally agree.

Republican Councilwoman Michelle Mercer said she believed the ordinance violated the Indiana Constitution and usurped the religious rights of private groups and individuals.

“If we pass this, first of all, I would anticipate that Evansville will be sued,” she said. “We will cost the taxpayers money unnecessarily in a lawsuit.”

Skylar Julian, a 17-year-old transgendered male, broke down in tears as he spoke before the council, saying he’s worried about the ability to find a job and a house if he can be legally discriminated against.

“Where is my right to live happily?” he said. “You can’t take that away from us.”

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