Indiana culture war over LGBT rights worries business leaders

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Business leaders say they are deeply anxious that decades of work to retool the sleepy image of Indianapolis could be swept away if Indiana does not adopt gay rights protections.

While a vibrant downtown area now has hotels, restaurants, theaters, a 3-mile canal walk and boutique apartments, they worry that a fight within Indiana’s dominant Republican party could put that prosperity at risk.

Business Republicans say the state needs to guarantee protections for gay, lesbian and bisexual people to show it is open-minded. Christian conservatives say all big business and the Chamber of Commerce care about is money and gay rights would compromise religious liberty.

The opposing sides fought to a stalemate this week in the Indiana Legislature and Republican lawmakers gave up trying to pass a compromise.

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