One Equal World

NCAA Supports Group Pushing for LGBT Rights in Indiana

Posted on: December 29, 2015

Image: NCAA

Image: NCAA

Continuing with the story of LGBT protections in Indiana, “Indiana Competes”, a business coalition formed to expand LGBT rights, will receive support from another major organization – the NCAA.

Representatives at the national NCAA headquarters said in a statement that they’re proud to join the group and will help “establish fair and equitable policies for all.”

“The NCAA national office in Indianapolis supports making Indiana a welcoming and inclusive place for people to work, live and enjoy,” said Bernard Franklin, NCAA chief inclusion officer, in a statement.

Indiana Competes was formed because Indiana currently doesn’t offer statewide protections for the LGBT community prohibiting discrimination in housing, public accommodation and employment. The group has warned that inaction on the issue by Republican Governor Mike Pence will harm the state’s ability to recruit talent and business. Indiana Competes has rallied more than 300 (large and small) businesses for support, including AT&T, Cummins, and Lilly & Co.

The issue of expanding civil rights protections to LGBT people hit a tapping point last spring after controversy over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act drew national attention (right before Indianapolis hosted the Final Four). Business groups and other supporters of LGBT rights have pushed for a statewide ban on discrimination. However, religious conservatives object because they believe it could force Christian business owners to violate religious beliefs.

After the NCAA’s statement on Wednesday, Pence’s office did not have a response. For months, Pence has refused to share where he stands on the issue and claims he’s “studying” the matter and speaking with representatives across the state.

“Where’s Mike Pence? It’s been 147 days, and he’s still ‘studying’ the commonsense idea of across the board protections for the LGBT community,” says Drew Anderson, Indiana Democratic Party spokesman.

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