Here's the letter that *Bry*lo sent to Representative David Orentlicher (D).
It is clear that the state legislature is trying to usurp the power of local governments to decide what types of protections they feel are needed for their constituencies. It is obvious that they are not pleased that sexual orientation and gender identity have been added to the Indianapolis human rights ordinance.
I am hoping that you will stand up and tell them that...
1. It is a well-established legal tenet that a local government CAN provide more civil rights protections than are granted at state and federal levels. It just can't provide FEWER rights than are provided by state and federal levels. (In other words, Indianapolis couldn't decide today that it no longer prohibits discrimination based on race.)
2. This law will likely be found to be uncontitutional under the federal and state constitutions as was in a simliar case of Romer v. Evans.
3. There is no rational basis for this law. Why would we want to restrict civil rights laws--laws that protect everyone? Why should a local government be restricted in the civil rights that it can recognize? If the state gets to decide, why do we have a local government at all?
4. This law would prevent not only sexual orientation and gender identity from being covered but also any other basis currently excluded from state and federal law. For example, the Indy HRO now protects ALL veterans from discrimination, not just Vietnam Era Veterans or disabled veteran. Under this new law, the men and women serving in Iraq or who served in the Gulf War will not be protected from discrimination against them by people who did not support the war or do not support war in general. Our local government took a big step forward and decided that Vietnam is not the only war that is/was controversial and that people might suffer discrimination over. We recognized that defending your country in the military is not something that should keep you from getting a job. There may be plenty of other bases that come up over time that we feel the same way about, even beyond sexual orientation and gender identity. Why should our local government be restricted in providing protections such as these? It makes no sense.
5. There are already many local human rights laws that include bases not covered at the state and federal levels. This law would cause all of these laws to be overturned. These are laws that have been in place for years and that have benefited our society. There has been no movement to overturn them that I am aware of.
For all these reasons and more, please strenuously oppose this amendment in discussions and when it comes up for a vote. We are counting on you to protect all of us.