FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2015
Josh Driver, email@example.com
Jennifer Wagner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Groups will push to update state civil rights law to protect gay and transgender Hoosiers from discrimination
INDIANAPOLIS — Freedom Indiana, the nonpartisan statewide grassroots organization that successfully fought a constitutional marriage amendment and sounded the alarm on the economically devastating Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), today announced a strategic partnership with Open for Service, the nonpartisan statewide campaign that promotes businesses that do not discriminate.
The groups will fight together for an update to the Indiana civil rights law that will protect gay and transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation.
Open for Service was founded in the midst of the fallout from RFRA. Businesses who want to publicly declare they are open to serve anyone can register for free atopenforservice.org and order a sticker for a minimal fee to display at their establishment. More than 5,000 businesses have registered since the website launched in March 2015.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the thousands of businesses and organizations that have signed up to showcase their commitment to nondiscrimination,” said Open for Service founder Josh Driver. “Partnering with Freedom Indiana to continue to grow that coalition and stand together to update our state civil rights law just makes sense.”
Freedom Indiana campaign manager Chris Paulsen said she hopes the partnership with Open for Service sends a strong message to state lawmakers that public accommodation must be part of any legislative language approved next year.
“The easiest thing they can do is add ‘sexual orientation, gender identity’ to existing law to make it clear that gay and transgender Hoosiers are protected,” Paulsen said. “The reason Open for Service has been so successful is because Hoosiers understand that if you’re open for business, you should be open to everyone. Now we’ll be able to work together to make sure that’s the law.”
Paulsen said Freedom Indiana will work with Open for Service to take action at the Statehouse, and she hopes to grow Open for Service to 10,000 members by the beginning of the legislative session in January.
“Our grassroots voices along with the voices of so many small and medium-sized business owners and employees send a powerful message that we need to update this law to protect our friends and neighbors and grow our economy,” Paulsen said.