Conservative groups name Carmel in RFRA lawsuit


The Indiana Family Institute and American Family Association of Indiana, two conservative lobbying groups, have filed a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of anti-discrimination ordinances in Carmel and Indianapolis that extend protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.

The lawsuit claims these laws take away religious freedom and constitutional rights for those that don’t agree with homosexuality or gender identity issues because of their faith. The lawsuit also claims that the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act became troublesome once it was amended to restrict religious objections to local human rights ordinances.

“Freedom is not a fixed, finite commodity which the legislature reapportions from time to time between and among the now-favored groups,” Indiana Family Institute President Curt Smith said in a statement.

In Carmel, the city council voted 4-3 to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance that seeks to outlaw discrimination in housing, employment and business services for a variety of individuals based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and more.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said he doesn’t think these legal challenges will be successful.

“This is an ordinance to protect the rights of everybody,” he said. “This is what America is about, and I can’t imagine that the courts would find the ordinance improper.”