‘Indiana Competes’ coalition of businesses forms to push for LGBT protections

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 2, 2015) -- More than 150 Indiana employers have teamed up to form a coalition calling on greater LGBT protections under state law.

The businesses formed the group Indiana Competes, rolling out a new website and social media accounts Wednesday. They're vowing to lobby lawmakers to add LGBT protections to the state's civil rights law in the upcoming legislative session.

"We need a non-discrimination statute that is fully inclusive and ensures that people are treated equally under state law," Maria Rose, Chief Administrative Officer at Cummins, said.

The issue is already setting up to be a contentious one in the January session, less than a year after controversy over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act launched Indiana into the national spotlight.

"The brand of our company is associated with the brand of Indiana and so as we sell outside the state, the brand of Indiana impacts us," Upland Brewing President Doug Dayhoff said.

Lawmakers are already working on ways to add protections into state law. Both Democrats and Republicans in the Indiana legislature have drafted preliminary bills for consideration.

Republicans, who hold the super-majority, put forward a "compromise" bill that would allow for certain religious freedom exemptions. State Senator Travis Holdman, R-District 19, who authored the bill, told CBS4 that he expected the bill to change significantly and that the business coalition would be at the table.

"It’s all about having adult conversations and laying everything out on the table and people talking it out," Holdman said.

As for Indiana Competes, it planned events across the state to get its message out and recruit new businesses. You can find more information about the coalition at the link here.

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