CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — Monday night in Carmel, the city council could vote on an ordinance aimed at protecting LGBT rights. The ordinance has been a heated issue in Carmel this fall.
This ordinance is in response to the religious freedom battle at the Statehouse last spring. Some leaders say there needs to be local protections for same-sex couples, to separate Carmel from all the backlash Indiana has faced, and make it known Carmel is a welcoming place for all.
Under the new ordinance, business owners who refuse service based on sexual orientation or gender identity would face a $500 fine. Mayor Jim Brainard’s office told 24-Hour News 8 he believes the ordinance will pass Monday night.
Some members in the city council said the ordinance will only pass if some key changes are included. One of those changes would be eliminating the fine for a first-time offense. Last week a committee changed the ordinance to give business owners a warning, instead of a fine. After the first offense, the business owners would receive the $500 fine.
“I would like think that the intent of this ordinance is to embrace acceptance, to educate people, and if all you do is beat them up, they’re not going to be happy with you,” said council member Eric Seidensticker.
24-Hour News 8 talked to several people who say they are just ready for the debate to be over.
“Quite frankly, in Carmel I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I don’t think there’s any discrimination anyhow, so let’s get it behind us,” said Carmel resident Bob Yost
“I think the world would be a better place if we could just have a little peace, a little grace towards one another,” said another Carmel resident.
If it passes, Carmel won’t be the first city to enact an anti-discrimination ordinance since the RFRA controversy. Terre Haute, Muncie, Zionsville and Columbus are a few of the cities who have enacted their own ordinances.
Fishers may also consider a similar ordinance. The mayor said he plans to bring one before the council sometime this fall.
The meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday at the Carmel City Hall.