INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The clash between civil rights and religious freedom is the biggest issue facing Indiana state lawmakers in 2016.
And it was evident when they gathered Tuesday for Organization Day.
A floor below, the General Assembly there was a rally for religious freedom.
“We are in a battle right now,” Rev. Ron Johnson told the crowd. “This is war.”
“We just believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and that’s the way it oughta be,” said Chris Allen. “That’s the way God intended it.”
A floor above there was a rally for civil right protections for gays and lesbians.
“And I want to make it very clear today that not all people of faith believe in discrimination,” said Danyelle Ditmer.
“The whole family can be discriminated against so this is pro-family legislation not anti-family legislation,” said Ken Inskeep.
“It’s not special protections,” said his wife Christina, “it’s equal protections.”
In the House Chamber Speaker Brian Bosma gave his normal Organization Day Address and suggested that despite all the talk nothing may come of it.
“Doing nothing is always an option as I shared with a group on Saturday,” he said, “but I suspect we need to have the conversation if nothing else.”
“That was his way of lowering expectations,” said Minority Leader Scott Pelath, “because clearly he’s saying that something may not happen.”
Following adjournment Speaker Bosma said it’s up the members.
Lawmakers won’t be back until January 5. That’s when the real fireworks begin.