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News & Press: Association News

Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act Update

Thursday, April 16, 2015   (0 Comments)
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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 language includes:

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:

Visit 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.

Visit 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.

It 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 cities.

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.

Take care,

Joyce Holl
NODA Executive Director

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