GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) – LGBT allies in Greenwood are trying to get a non-discrimination ordinance passed in their city.
“It’s the empathy of the matter,” said Matthew Smith, who is petitioning the city’s common council for the protections. “I don’t want anybody to be denied service of employment because of who they are or who they love.”
The renewed effort by Smith and others comes after the state legislature failed twice to pass statewide protections.
“The Statehouse has had plenty of time to take care of it, and they’ve made it clear that they’re not going to do that, so now I think it’s time to act,” Smith said.
Smith is hosting a rally outside of Wednesday’s common council meeting. He says RFRA put the state in a negative light, but this action could turn it around, he said.
“I think most people in Greenwood are very reasonable people and they’ll look at this law and say, ‘You know, this is a big loophole that people are taking advantage of, and it’s just the morally right thing to do to make this change,'” he said.
The city’s Republican mayor seems to agree.
“I understand Mr. Smith’s concern and I have talked with some of my council members about it already,” said Mayor Mark Myers.
Myers said he’ll work with Freedom Indiana and request the council study the issue. If they get it right the first time they’ll avoid any embarrassment, he said.
“The last thing I want to see happen is for it to get on the agenda and be shot down. We don’t want Greenwood to be portrayed in a negative image,” said Mayor Myers.
Last summer Goshen and Elkhart both tabled their ordinances after adding them to the agenda.
“That looks bad for the community. We don’t want that,” Myers said.
Republican Councilman Bruce Armstrong was reached by phone. He said these talks should be had at the state level, saying the piecemeal approach won’t work and that state lawmakers need to handle it.
“It’s not in a mean-spirited way. We’re not trying to tell them they’ve done something wrong, we’re just wanting to tell them this is something we want done,” Smith said.
In addition to Wednesday’s rally, Mayor Myers said he will discuss the issue with the council president on Thursday during their weekly meeting.
Click here for more information on Wednesday’s LGBT rights rally.