Indiana Chamber of Commerce backs statewide LGBT rights protections

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By: Brian Slodysko/Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is calling on lawmakers and Republican Gov. Mike Pence to expand state civil rights laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity during the coming legislative session.

The statewide business group announced Thursday that its board of directors voted “overwhelmingly” to endorse that step during its annual fall meeting.

Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar says the expanded protections are needed to improve the state’s future business competitiveness after the national backlash to the state’s religious objections law that Pence signed in March

The chamber board is comprised of more than 100 business executives and civic leaders. The group says Indiana will suffer if steps are not taken to secure the state’s reputation as a hospitable and welcoming place.