MADISON – In response to an Indiana law which will allow discrimination based on religious excuse, Dane County Board members will offer an ordinance amendment to ban County travel to, and expenditures in, Indiana.
Three openly gay Board members – Supervisors Kyle Richmond (Dist. 4), Chuck Erickson (Dist. 13) and Andrew Schauer (Dist. 21) – and other Board colleagues announced the legislation on Wednesday at a news conference.
“I was born and raised in Indiana, and I am embarrassed,” Richmond said. “Legalizing bigotry in the name of religion is divisive and cowardly. As our Wisconsin Badger Final Four basketball team arrives in Indianapolis, Dane County expects a very different sort of ‘Hoosier Hospitality’.”
The chair of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors announced plans for a similar ordinance amendment on Wednesday morning, and other municipal governments across the United States have also joined the protest.
“Dane County does not condone discrimination and has been a leader in the fight for LGBT equality for over a decade,” Erickson said. “Dane County’s financial resources will not be used to support the bigotry and prejudice which were regrettably passed into law by the Indiana Legislature.”
The Dane County amendment is worded to remain in effect until the Indiana law is repealed. If approved by the Board, the amendment would be part of Chapter 20, Dane County’s expense account ordinance.
“This specific version of the law gives businesses the right to turn away not only LGBT customers, but anyone they think their religion gives them the right to discriminate against,” said Schauer, a civil rights attorney by trade. “Most people know this to be bad for business – but Indiana will have to find that out on its own. In the meantime, Dane County must stay on the right side of history by pulling its economic support from this discriminatory business environment.”
As of Wednesday morning, 10 County Board members had expressed interest in co-sponsoring the ordinance amendment.