LGBT rights debate heats up, Pence’s challenger weighs in

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (January 1, 2016) – Over the next nine weeks, the nation will be watching closely, as Indiana takes up the touchy topic of expanding rights for the Hoosier LGBT community.

Wednesday, pastors from across Indiana used signatures to make their point, that any expansion of rights for gays and lesbians would rip religious freedoms from Christians across Indiana.

“We came back today to simply bring 5,500 signatures of people who said they are strongly against Senate Bill 100,” said Pastor Ron Johnson, the Executive Director of the Indiana Pastors Alliance.

More than fifty pastors, representing the Indiana Pastors Alliance dropped off 5,500 signatures to the Indiana Senate Wednesday, pressuring lawmakers to stop a bill aiming to expand civil rights for LGBT Hoosiers.

“It’s not just about protecting pastors within the four walls of their church, we’re concerned with the people that worship on Sunday mornings who are sitting out in our congregation, especially business owners because they all of a sudden have a target placed upon them for simply trying to bring Christ into their business,” said Johnson.

Senate Bill 100 is the source of this debate. The bill, introduced by republican senators, would add Gays, Lesbians, and Transgender Hoosiers as protected classes to the state’s civil rights code.

Governor Mike Pence addressed the issue Tuesday during his state of the state address.

“I will not support any bill that diminishes the religious freedom or Hoosiers or interferes with the constitutional rights of our citizens to live out their beliefs in worship, service or work,” he said.

“This whole issue is of Mike Pence’s creation,” said Pence’s democratic challenger for Governor, John Gregg.

In an interview with CBS4 Wednesday, Gregg wasted no time blasting the Governor. Gregg said Pence’s claims, that protecting gays and lesbians would hurt religious freedoms, are false.

“There have been many communities in Indiana that have had civil rights statutes that include LGBT and we’ve not seen this conflict and all of this stuff that people are talking about,” he said.

168 Hoosier ministers released a statement Wednesday saying they support expanded civil rights protections for the LGBT community.

The Governor would not comment Wednesday when asked if he would support any form of expanded civil rights.

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