Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act Update
Thursday, April 16, 2015
During the last few weeks, we have heard from many NODA members regarding their concerns related
to the Indiana Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (IRFRA), and it’s impact on
our members. In an email to the membership, NODA promised that the NODA Board
of Directors would discuss concerns and how this legislation may impact the
2016 Annual Conference. Since then, an amendment was passed and signed by
Governor Pence which has added nondiscrimination language. The additional
The IRFRA does not
"authorize a provider to refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use
of public accommodations, goods, employment or housing to any member or members
of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age,
national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or
United States military service.”
As this amendment was being written, the Indianapolis
Convention and Visitors Bureau (who the NODA staff worked with in deciding our
2016 host city), created a press release highlighting the needed change:
Indy, along with a broad coalition of local, statewide and national partners,
fully supports the proposed amendment to the state's Religious Freedom
Restoration Act (RFRA) which ensures the law cannot be used as a defense to
discrimination against anyone for any reason throughout the state of
Indiana. The amended law will more clearly reflect Indianapolis' own
longstanding human rights ordinance which includes protections against
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Indy has worked diligently with city leaders, the ACLU of Indiana, Indy Chamber
and many others both prior to the RFRA’s enactment and since its passage to
share with lawmakers that any risk of the RFRA being used as a defense to
discrimination, whether actual or perceived, and for religious objections or
otherwise, was unacceptable. We look forward to the amendment’s approval
by the state’s General Assembly and Gov. Pence.
has taken decades for our city and state to earn our reputation for exceptional
hospitality – "Hoosier Hospitality” – and we are working urgently to reinforce
to residents and visitors alike that Indiana and Indianapolis are open for
business to ALL. We are appreciative of the countless people and
organizations who have supported Visit Indy’s and our community’s position on
the state’s RFRA throughout this exceptionally challenging time.
With these changes, the NODA Board of Directors has decided
to continue plans for the Association to host the 2016 Annual Conference in
Indianapolis. NODA will continue to work
with our host hotel (JW Marriott) and the city of Indianapolis to ensure all
NODA members are welcome.
I want to thank NODA members who reached out to me to share
their concerns. I would also like to thank the NODA Board of Directors for
their thoughtful conversation and discussion on future considerations for host
I look forward to our continued planning for the 2016 NODA
Annual Conference and know that the Conference Program Planning Team will work
hard to bring quality, educational programming for NODA members.
As always, please feel free to contact me.
NODA Executive Director