More than 100 Indiana-based businesses and orporations have signed a letter urging Congress to pass the Equality Act, the federal legislation that would protect LGBTQ Americans.
The letter included major businesses such as Eli Lilly and Co., Cummins Inc, Roche Diagnostics and Salesforce. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Indy Chamber both signed on, too, along with many smaller businesses.
"Indiana is the home of Hoosier hospitality. Whether we’re recruiting new employers or hosting March Madness, we welcome all," the letter stated. "That is why, as members of Indiana’s business community, we urge Congress to pass the Equality Act to ensure that all Americans are treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity."
The Equality Act passed the House in February but has stalled in the split Senate. Opponents of the bill argue that it would impinge on religious freedom; others are worried about the effect of transgender rights on women and girls in sports. Supporters of the act say that the bill would not impact who can participate in girls' sports.
According to The Indy Star, Indiana businesses pushed for LGBTQ protections in a hate crimes bill at a state level in 2019, but what was signed into law fell short of their expectations.
Under Senate Enrolled Act 198, judges handing down criminal sentences could consider bias due to victims' identity traits listed elsewhere in Indiana code, including color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion and sexual orientation. Gender and gender identity were excluded.