Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and the City-County Council on Monday called on the Indiana General Assembly to either repeal the divisive Religious Freedom Restoration Act or add explicit protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in state law.
Ballard also issued an executive order that anyone who receives money from the city government must abide by its human rights ordinance, which has had such protections in place for a decade.
His comments at a Monday afternoon news conference were the strongest yet from the Republican leader of the state’s capital and largest city in the wake of the bill, which was signed by Gov. Mike Pence last week.
Flanked by business leaders, Ballard denounced the law not only as a threat to the city’s economic interests, but as a serious concern for residents and visitors who fear that they could be subjected to discrimination for religious reasons.
“Our city thrives because we have welcomed and embraced diversity. And RFRA threatens what thousands of people have spent decades building,” Ballard said.
“Discrimination is wrong. And I hope that message is being heard loud and clear at our Statehouse.”
Hours after Ballard’s comments, the council passed a resolution of its own, 24-4, in order to “send a crystal clear message that Indianapolis is a welcoming and diverse city,” said Vice President John Barth, a Democrat.
Republican council members Virginia Cain, Aaron Freeman, Jack Sandlin and Jason Holliday voted against it but did not explain their votes during the meeting. Nine Republicans and all 15 Democrats voted in favor.
Supporters say the RFRA, set to become law on July 1, is needed to protect religious freedom from government intrusion, pointing to similar laws across the country. But circumstances unique to Indiana’s bill have sparked a national firestorm over fears that it could legalize discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Chief among those circumstances is the fact that many states with an RFRA, including neighboring Illinois, also have statewide bans on discrimination based on sexual orientation, alongside other protected classes such as race, sex and religion.
Indiana has no such protections. And it explicitly prohibits local human rights ordinances from being exempt from the RFRA.
Read more: indystar.com
- Watch: Al Sharpton’s Epic Fails When Reading Teleprompter Will Have You Rolling With Laughter, ‘The Thigh (Thai) Militarty’
- Crocodile ‘Whisperer’ Claimed the Creatures Wouldn’t Harm Him, Then He Went for a Swim
- Defense Secretary James Mattis is Ready to Shoot Down North Korea’s Ballistic Missiles
- Trump UN Speech: ‘Rocket Man’ Kim Jong Un is on ‘suicide mission’ [WATCH]
- ISIS on the Verge of Losing its ‘Capital’
- Columbus Day Now has a New Racially Acceptable Name in Los Angeles, Explorer to be Erased from History…
- MSNBC Host Claims Antifa is ‘on the Side of Angels’
- CNN Made to Report Trump’s ‘Wiretap’ Accusations May Have Been True
- WATCH: US Open Champion Sloane Stephens When Asked if She has New ‘Hunger’ to Win More Games Gives Hilarious Answer — Endorses Capitalism
- College Pays Professors Huge Settlement After ‘Ban of White People’ on Campus Threatened Their Lives [Video]
- ALERT: Bomb Threat Reported for Central London Tube Trains
- Photo Gallery
- BARBARIC: Two White Teenagers Beat Black Friend Hold her Down to Get Raped
- Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff Reveals Michelle Was the Real Boss and if She Got Mad, Oh Boy…
- Taking Up Arms: NJ Couple Brutally Beaten and Sexually Assaulted Become Gun Owners
- Maxine Waters: ‘I think too much credit is given to presidents about how the markets are working…’
- The Lawyers Whom Allegedly Deleted Hillary’s E-mails are About to be…
- Syrians React to Trump’s Bombing of Airbase… LOVE What the President Did