GOP bill on Indiana LGBT rights has religious exemptions for churches, small businesses

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A proposal from Indiana Senate Republicans would extend state civil rights protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity, while providing exemptions for religious institutions and some small businesses.

The bill would also override more than a dozen city or county ordinances around the state that provide such local civil rights protections.

Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Long said Tuesday he believed the proposal strikes the right balance between providing LGBT civil rights and protecting religious freedom.

Democrats and gay rights advocates have been pushing for greater LGBT protections since the national uproar last spring over Indiana’s religious objections law.

Crowds on both sides of the issue held rallies Tuesday in the Statehouse as lawmakers held their Organization Day meetings.

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