INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Equality will host a Statehouse gathering, the “Our Families Count!” rally, on February 9, 2006 from 1pm – 3pm. This event has been organized in response to a recent spate of legislation aimed at relegating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Hoosiers to second-class status.
“With daylight-savings time, toll roads, and property taxes on the docket, one would think the legislature has more important business to attend to than attacking gay families in this short session,” stated Walter Botich, Indiana Equality legislative committee co-chair.
Angered by advances in local human rights protections, Representative Jeff Thompson (R – Lizton) offered a proposal that was aimed at the LGBT community specifying that local government may not extend protections for employment or housing that is greater than existing state of federal statute. This proposal would have banned human rights protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity – effectively overturning existing laws in Bloomington, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Lafayette, Michigan City, West Lafayette, and Tippecanoe County.
All too often, LGBT families are either overlooked or discounted completely. Indiana Equality encourages all of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens of the state to join them in announcing to the state government that “Our Families Count!”
“This is an exercise of our rights – and it’s happening in the Statehouse rotunda,” observed Kathy Sarris, president of Indiana Equality. “It’s time the State of Indiana started recognizing those rights.”
“It’s time for our community to stand up and be counted. We need to show that our families are just as important as other families around the state,” commented Jerame Davis, Indiana Equality communications committee chair and rally organizer. “We will not be forced into second-class status. We pay our taxes, participate in our communities, and raise our families just like all other Hoosiers. We should be treated equally.”
The “Our Families Count!” rally will feature speakers from several community organizations from around the state. Several legislators have been invited to speak.
Founded in 2003, Indiana Equality is a coalition of organizations from around the state who are focused on providing basic human rights for Indiana’s LGBT citizens. Participating organizations include Interfaith Coalition on Nondiscrimination (ICON), Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance (INTRAA), Indiana Action Network (IAN), Justice, Inc., Indiana PFLAG, Indianapolis Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Social Workers (NASW) as well as regional steering committees in the Indianapolis, Bloomington, Evansville, Richmond, Ft. Wayne, Lafayette, and South Bend areas.