An anti-discrimination bill that all sides argued was deeply flawed was withdrawn in Indiana before a vote.
The measure was opposed by the right-wing community that fought in 2015 for a religious right to refuse service to LGBT people.
And the measure lacked the support of the LGBT community, which said it was flawed and failed to protect transgender people.
“Indiana lawmakers must move forward legislation this session that would truly safeguard LGBT Hoosiers and visitors from discrimination,” said JoDee Winterhof of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group.
The sponsors of the anti-discrimination bill failed to round up support from the gay community, which viewed the GOP’s measure as an attempt to mitigate the economic damage caused by the passage of the 2015 religious exemptions bill while still permitting discrimination.
“We took a beating from all sides in trying to do this,” Senate Republican leader David Long told the AP. He blamed the influence of groups outside the state on both sides of the issue.
Meanwhile, LGBT civil rights advocates in Indiana continued to push lawmakers to try again. “The legislative process is just that — a process,” Freedom Indiana, a statewide LGBT group, said on Feb. 2. “The conversation should continue in the coming weeks and months, not be shut down without a vote on the Senate floor.”
Jane Henegar, executive director of the ACLU of Indiana, said, “Lawmakers left this crucial issue unanswered.”
She added, “We will continue to fight during this legislative session to update our civil rights law and undo the damage done to our state by last year’s RFRA.”
The national ACLU was monitoring at least two bills — one in South Dakota and another in West Virginia — like the measure that ignited controversy last year in Indiana.
In South Dakota, HB 1107 would allow organizations and individuals to discriminate against people based on their religious beliefs about marriage, sexual relations outside of marriage or gender identity.
An ACLU report said, “This could mean that homeless shelters that refused to accept single mothers or gay children would still be entitled to a government contract. It could mean that licensed counselors can condemn their clients but still be entitled to practice the profession.”
In West Virginia, a bill to allow people and groups to discriminate based on their faith is a priority for GOP leaders but a broad business coalition, Opportunity West Virginia, has formed to fight the measure.