South Bend Common Councilmember Oliver Davis (D) has co-sponsored Bill 30-10, a measure that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in Indiana’s fourth largest city. Council members are expected to vote on the measure tonight and anti-gay activists are ramping up the anti-gay and anti-trans rhetoric, reports EDGE.
The Citizens for Community Values of Indian claimed in an e-blast "radical GLBT activists are back to try to push their agenda once again in the middle of summer when many families are on vacation." The message further encourages South Bend residents to pray and contact their council members and urge them to "lovingly oppose the special rights for homosexuals, bisexuals and transgendereds [sic], agenda." The e-mail goes on to contend the amendment’s passage would affirm "homosexual behavior," promote "pro-homosexual propaganda" and even lead to an invasion of "men in dresses" into women’s restrooms and same-sex couples into neighborhoods.
The Employment Fairness Amendment, sponsored by Democrat Councilmembers Oliver Davis, Ann Puzzello and Al "Buddy" Kirsits, has a deliberately shorter reach. The amendment pertains only to employment discrimination-avoiding issues of education or housing-and offers an exemption for faith-based entities, such as the University of Notre Dame, the city’s largest employer. Tricia Wainscott, executive director of the South Bend-based GLBT Resource Center of Michiana ... expects the vote will be close, even with Mayor Stephen Luecke’s support. 'Some of the council members have already made up their minds on this and feel the issue will be really expensive for small business owners forced to hire an attorney should they need to defend themselves if someone feels they are wrongly fired for being gay,' Wainscott told EDGE. 'But that’s a misconception. All this amendment does is give the city’s Human Rights Commission permission to investigate these cases. It’s been blown out of proportion.'"
The South Bend Tribune has published several letters supportive of Bill 30-10. Incidntally, the bathroom rhetoric mirrors similar campaigns to repeal anti-discrimination measures in Gainesville and Kalamazoo. Both campaigns were rejected by the voters.
In 2006, a similar measure failed to pass the South Bend Common Council by one vote. Indiana is one of 30 states that lacks any employment protections for LGBT citizens. Indianapolis and Bloomington have passed ordinances protecting LGBT citizens locally.