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Ms. T.

20 February 2015
Current Event Assignment 2
In mid-November, the Chicago Tribune published an article about the Indiana Senate
receiving a proposal from its Republican Senators addressing the extension of state civil
rights protections of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community
which was brought to the Senate for debate last spring. The original bill addressed the
need to ban discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation based on a
persons sexual orientation or gender identity. The new proposal, brought forth by the
Indiana Republican Senators, requests broad exemptions for religious institutions and
various small businesses that object to working with gay people. While the original bill
that was proposed last spring clearly intends to further extend civil rights for the LBGT
community, the Republican Senators amended bill does the opposite by creating
exemptions to protections of LGBT citizens and pro-supporters of the LGBT community
view this as controversial due to the discriminating nature and religious liberty it provides
to a particular group in society.
The article above discusses a bill put forth which focuses on providing more civil rights to a
particular group, but in the same breath a different proposal aims to limit that same groups
civil liberties purely based on the need to protect another groups religious beliefs or
religious sensibilities. Such an amended bill would be in clear violation of the First
Amendment which has set out two guarantees of religious freedoms. The two guarantees
state, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion and Congress
shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Neither guarantee permits
the law (Law makers or the Government) to create law recognising a particular religion,
nor make amendments based on a religious concern or need. Furthermore, the 9th
Amendment of the US Constitution sets out that any right that has not expressly been
listed in the Constitution, in this case discrimination, such as sexual orientation or gender,
must be protected by the 9th Amendment.
Were considering it a road map for discrimination and not a set of meaningful protections
for LGBT people, said Jennifer Pizer, a lawyer for the Lambda Legal, which supports gay
rights. Legalised discrimination of the LGBT group in Indiana would create massive ripple

effects throughout the country politically. A precedent would be set. Therefore, other
States could begin to create similar laws across the country permitting small businesses,
NGOs, and others to claim religious beliefs as their reasons to freely discriminate against
LGBTs. Such exemptions to protective laws would immediately create social, economic
and political chasms and divides. LGBT rights would be limited by the very nature of such
a bill. LGBT group could begin experiencing differences in their access to equal pay at
work; equal access to government benefits (housing accommodation), different social
treatment within society (bullying) and other limited rights within government.
The US Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights, was set out by the Founding Fathers to
protect, not hurt its citizens. The lawmakers of Indiana should be reminded of this fact,
and not work at marginalising a group of its own citizens based on the desires of a select
Work Cited:
"GOP Bill on Indiana LGBT Rights Has Religious Exemptions." Chicago Tribune. 18 Nov.
2015. Web. 19 Jan. 2016. <>.