Earlier this week, Indiana passed a law stating that businesses could discriminate based on religious freedom. Which means that a business can actually put up a sign that says “No Gay People” allowed and it is allowed under the Religious Freedom rules. This development isn’t really a development but it has made the news all over the traditional news and social media. Up until now, Indiana didn’t have any laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination based on them being LGBT. So, this actually didn’t change much legally, but did manage to show that bigotry is alive and well despite the progress the LGBT community has made in the last few years.
We are now within a month of the US Supreme Court hearing cases on: 1. if valid same-sex marriages have to be recognized in all states and 2. if states can regulate marriage to one man and one woman. So that is progress, but unfortunately it does not get rid of all bigotry or the fact that there aren’t laws on the books that protect LGBT people the same way that there are laws about discrimination based on gender and race.
Even with the uproar about the law in Indiana, many states don’t offer protection for their LGBT citizens. For example, in Kentucky, more than half the citizens in the state are protected under Fairness Ordinances which ban discrimination based on LGBT status or perceived LGBT status. There is no statewide Fairness law, which means unless you live in one of the cites that have adopted a Fairness Ordinance, a gay person, or perceived gay person, can be fired, asked to leave or refused service, simply because of a person’s bias. Not that the bias in Indiana is alright, but realize that if you want to change things, you may need to look at your own city to see what protections are offered there and see about changing things at that level also.