Legislative panel on judiciary to discuss LGBT civil rights

“Civil rights issues related to gender identity and sexual orientation” is the lone subject on the agenda for the Interim Study Committee on Courts and the Judiciary’s initial meeting on Aug. 30.

The legislative advisory panel is studying whether to add anti-discrimination protections to state law for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual people. The topic has dominated the General Assembly since 2015, when anger over the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act prompted Gov. Mike Pence to sign a “fix” of the legislation that opponents said permitted discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate Majority Leader David Long announced in May the topic would be assigned to the study committee.

The panel is chaired by Republicans Rep. Greg Steuerwald of Avon and Sen. Travis Holdman of Markle, includes non-lawmakers Chief Justice Loretta Rush, Allen Superior Judge Tom Felts, Lake County Commissioner Kyle Allen Sr., Clerk Christa Coffey of Tippecanoe County and Laporte County County Councilman Mark Yagelski.

Other Republican lawmakers on the panel are Sen. Rodric Bray of Martinsville, Sen. Randall Head of Logansport, Sen. Luke Kenley of Noblesville, Rep. William Friend of Macy, Rep. Kathy Richardson of Noblesville and Rep. Tom Washburne of Evansville.

Democratic lawmakers on the study committee are Sen. John Broden of South Bend, Sen. Lonnie Randolph of East Chicago, Sen. Greg Taylor of Indianapolis, Rep. Pat Bauer of South Bend, Rep. Ed DeLaney of Indianapolis, and Rep. Linda Lawson of Hammond.

The committee will meet at 9 .m. Aug. 30 in Room 404 of the Statehouse in Indianapolis.


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