Religious leaders unite to oppose anti-discrimination law
The Carmel City Council is expected to discuss and vote on a proposed ant-discrimination ordinance on Monday Sept. 21.
Many business owners and CEOs have voiced their support for the law, which would outlaw discrimination based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and other factors.
These protections in housing, employment and service in businesses would be new for gay and lesbian groups in Carmel and advocates say the law is needed not only because it’s the right thing to do but because the state’s perceptions has been seriously damaged by the national controversy surrounding Indiana’s recent Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Business leaders say the damage from RFRA makes it hard to attract businesses to Indiana and so Carmel needs to pass this ordinance to help change that perception locally. Many other municipalities have recently passed similar laws.
But opponents of the law say it’s unnecessary.
They say discrimination is not a major problem in Carmel and it could create more problems by creating a way for the City Attorney to fine businesses if they are accused of discrimination. Advocates claim there are other ways to help improve the city’s perception as a welcoming place instead of creating more government and more laws.
Here’s a letter that’s being circulated around in churches and online that City Councilor Eric Seidensticker calls superior to the actual ordinance:
A Statement of Unity for Carmel
September 11, 2015
Dear Citizen of Carmel, Indiana,
Please join us in an effort to bring the community of Carmel together. The proposed anti discrimination ordinance is dividing our city and unnecessarily causing anguish, discord and pain amongst the people of Carmel.
As has been publicly stated by many citizens, Carmel is already a welcoming community that respects human dignity.
Rather than pass an ordinance that perpetuates a negative climate in our community, dividing neighbor against neighbor, we propose a positive resolution (see below) that reinforces the spirit of our community that already exists.
This is an historic opportunity for a win-win. This positive solution brings people together – our Church communities, business and community leaders, parents and children, people of all persuasions – to encourage our political leaders in Carmel to join with us in an effort that will bring Carmel together for the good of all.
We need your help now! Please join the pastors and community leaders listed below to pass this resolution in lieu of the proposed anti-discrimination ordinance.
If you are a resident of Carmel, IN, please email CarmelUnity@gmail.com, expressing your support of this resolution of unity for the City of Carmel, so that we can add your name to the list of supporters below. (Only your name will be listed. Your email address will not be collected or shared.)
Forward this email to all concerned citizens of Carmel, IN, encouraging them to voice their support of this resolution.
Resolution: A Statement of Unity for the City of Carmel, IN
Carmel is a welcoming community.
The people of Carmel respect the dignity of everyone.
We commend the people of Carmel for their sacrifice, their involvement, and their willingness to accept others.
We encourage the people of Carmel to work together so that Carmel will continue to be a desirable place to live and flourish.
We support this
Resolution: A Statement of Unity for the City of Carmel, IN:
Rev. Richard Doerr, Pastor, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church
Pastor Kurt Larson, First Baptist Church
Pastor Tim Kirk, Christ Community Church
Rev. Ted Rothrock, Pastor, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church
Warren Byrd, Attorney at Law
Tom McHaffie, Carmel Businessman