A proposed civil rights bill hit a brick wall on the floor of the Indiana State Senate on Tuesday afternoon.
As a result, there was no debate, no vote, and no progress made on the idea of extending protections to all or part of the LGBT community.
“I can’t pretend to not be disappointed by our failure to act. Why are we failing to do what we should do?“ asked Sen. Tim Lanane, (D) Anderson. “We’ve made it more complicated than it really should be. I generally feel that.”
Ambivalence describes the feelings of local civil rights leader, Eli Williams.
"I wish the conversation continued, but the fact it's not progressing, is not being brought up for a vote is disappointing, but at the same time it was an incredibly flawed, problematic bill because of the exclusion of transgender individuals," said Williams, the Executive Director of the GLBT Resource Center of Michiana, Inc.
The author of SB 344 decided not to bring it to the Senate floor where 27 proposed amendments awaited.
“We had 27 amendments on this bill today and no consensus on where to go with this bill and in the end it did not have support on either side in its current iteration,” said Ind. Sen. David Long, (R) Fort Wayne.
Tuesday marked the deadline for bills to advance past second reading and the civil rights measure didn’t make it.
“While the legislation is not advancing in this session the underlying issue is not going to go away. I’m hopeful those on all sides of the debate can eventually come together and reach a compromise. If we fail to do that there is a very real possibility that the courts will do that for us and I don’t think that is in the best interest of the state,” said Sen. Travis Holdman, (R) Markle.
“There’s a roadmap showing what the courts are doing in this country today and they are aggressively stepping in where the legislature fails to tread,” added Sen. Long. “Protecting religious freedom while also thoughtfully extending civil rights the courts won’t worry about that and I fear and expect that religious freedom and liberty will be the loser if the courts are the ones to decide this issue.”
Minority Leader Sen. Tim Lanane, (D) Anderson blamed a lack of leadership from the Governor’s office for the bill’s fate. “I don't want the members of the communities out there who are saying we need to do this to think that this was our fault as a caucus we were willing to compromise. We were willing to have protection just along the lines of housing or just along the lines of housing and employment and we were told transgender will not go into this bill.”
Williams, with the local GLBT Resource Center, suggested the bill is another example of disregarding the "T."
"We constantly see transgender people being left behind in these issues, which is unacceptable," she said. "We are the LGBTQ community. We value everyone in our community here at the GLBT Resource Center. We are radically transgender inclusive -- that's a huge part of our mission."