On Thursday, the Board of Directors of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce reported that they will be pushing for increased support for the LGBT community. Represented by over 100 professionals all over Indiana, a recent vote indicated that the vast majority are on the same page that civil rights laws in the state need to be expanded in order to protect sexual orientation.
Kevin Brinegar, the Chamber’s CEO and President, acknowledged that the image of the state was one of intolerance as a result of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the push for increased civil rights is necessary in order to correct that perception. Indiana is a welcoming state, and anyone should be encouraged to visit or consider moving here without fear of reprimand based on sexual orientation or identification with a certain gender.
In the United States, around four percent of the population identifies as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender according to a report made by the Williams Institute. However, out of a total adult population in Indiana of 6,483,802, only 182,997 identify themselves as being a part of the LGBT community. It’s impossible to say whether a push for increased civil rights would cause this number to raise. However, it is certainly a possibility that many are afraid to publically identify due to a lack of acceptance.
Brinegar is optimistic of the potential changes, and he feels that encouraging acceptance will make Indiana a more welcoming place to do business, thus increasing the economic stability of the state. Governor Mike Pence said he is discussing ways in which these changes can be implemented without causing upset in the religious community.