On Friday morning, the Minneapolis City Council adopted a resolution that originally would have banned city-funded travel to Indiana, but quickly changed it to a resolution calling on Indiana and 27 other states to adopt protections for LGBT people.
Council President Barb Johnson was planning to offer a resolution that would have stopped city employees from traveling to Indiana on the city’s payroll due to that state’s new “religious freedom” law. A copy of that resolution can be found here: [PDF]. However, on Thursday, Indiana’s legislature passed, and Gov. Mike Pence signed, an amendment that for the first time in Indiana’s history offers some protection for LGBT people. The amendment keeps intact nondiscrimination laws in Indiana municipalities, but does not extend nondiscrimination across the state.
The changes to the religious freedom law states that the statute does not:
(1) authorize a provider to refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing to any member of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service; (2) establish a defense to a civil action or criminal prosecution for refusal to provide such services; or (3) negate any rights available under the constitution of the State of Indiana
Johnson offered a substitute resolution on Friday that acknowledges the change to Indiana’s law, but also criticizes it for not going far enough.
It says [PDF]:
Whereas, the State of Indiana, along with twenty-seven other states in the nation, offer no protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens, leaving these people exposed to discrimination in a variety of ways every
day of their lives;
Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved by The City Council of The City of Minneapolis: That the Minneapolis City Council hereby affirms the City’s commitment to civil rights and ensuring equity for all people in Minneapolis and beyond and calls on the State of Indiana as well as the other twenty-seven states in the nation which offer no protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens, to establish this group of people as a protected class and put into place these protections as quickly as possible and to then vigorously enforce and protect the civil rights of all people within their borders regardless of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other protected class status and to prevent discrimination against any protected group.
Minneapolis city attorney Susan Segal explained the changes:
“With this addition to the law, I think that it largely corrects the concerns and objections that have been raised nationally. There still is not affirmative protections in Indiana law but that’s the situation that was before they passed the statute,” she told the council. “I think these changes came about because of the activism of people across the nation including the City of Minneapolis and our mayor and city council have made a quick impact and therefore I think the situation has significantly changed.”
Mayor Betsy Hodges added, “Things are still not where we want them in Indiana and in other states around the country and I appreciate that this resolution addresses that and makes that statement clearly while understanding that Indiana, at least now, is positioned similarly to other states in the country, all of whom we want to be proactive in supporting LGBT people.”
The council passed the resolution in a unanimous vote.
Here’s video of the vote on Friday morning:
Here’s the resolution adopted on Friday morning: