Indianapolis’ economic health and viability has been enhanced by the extension of human rights protections to include the city’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens, declared leaders of the city’s gay groups have declared.

Sexual orientation and gender equality has been added to the Indianapolis Human Rights Ordinance.

“Indiana Equality is excited that members of the Indianapolis City-County Council have decided to endorse passage of this very important set of protections,” stated Kathy Sarris, president of gay rights group, Indiana Equality.

She added “The fact that council members from both sides of the aisle supported this proposition speaks firmly that Indiana’s leaders believe strongly in fairness for all Hoosiers.”

“The leadership within the council including Council president Steve Talley, councillor Jackie Nytes and councillor Scott Keller led the charge to revisit this proposal,” said Bill Browning, Indiana Equality Region 8 chair.

“In the months since the first attempt at amending the human rights ordinance, our councillors have heard from a host of constituents with personal stories of discrimination. This time, it was clear that discrimination was in fact occurring and that it was simply unacceptable.”

Indianapolis is now one of seven municipalities in Indiana that prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation. Other areas include the cities of Bloomington, Fort Wayne, Lafayette, Michigan City and West Lafayette, as well as Tippecanoe County. The Indianapolis ordinance also includes protection for transgender individuals.

More than 250 cities and municipalities across the United States have passed similar protections for its LGBT citizens. In addition, The Indianapolis Star, and the Indianapolis Business Journal both supported the changes to the human rights ordinance.

“Having these protections in place gives Indianapolis a unique tool to attract the best possible employees to work in our businesses and corporations” stated Jon Keep, Chairman of the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, an Indiana Equality coalition member. He added, “We have to compete with regional cities of similar size like Columbus, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky for businesses and jobs. These cities have already adopted similar workplace protections.”