Indiana Companies Support Amendment to RFRA

Update (4/3/2015 4:26 p.m.):A national statement by Diversity Top 50 company, Monsanto, has been included in the article.

By Barbara Frankel

The Indiana companies that fought Gov. Mike Pence and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act are applauding a proposal by the GOP legislative leaders to amend the controversial law.

The amendment would not allow the law to be used to refuse service, goods, facilities or accommodations to LGBT people. Most importantly, it would bar discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or U.S. military service.

Eli Lilly and Company, Anthem (formerly WellPoint), and Cummins, Nos. 27, 29 and 15, respectively, on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list, all support the proposed changes, although Cummins asked that the legislature go further to protect LGBT rights.

Lilly Senior Vice President Bart Peterson had this statement:

“We believe that Senate Bill 50 addresses key concerns with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). SB50 makes it clear that RFRA does not allow individuals or businesses to use the law to justify discrimination, including discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, SB50 extends these protective provisions to services, facilities, public accommodations, as well as housing and employment. This revision makes the language consistent with human rights ordinances throughout Indiana.

We appreciate the speed with which the leadership of the General Assembly has moved to address RFRA. We look forward to the legislature passing the bill and the governor signing it into law.

We have been deeply concerned about the impact the passage of RFRA has had on our employees and on the state we call home. We are hopeful that we can begin the process of healing and once again demonstrate to the world what we know Indiana to be: a warm, welcoming state and a terrific place to do business.”

Anthem issued this statement: “Anthem seeks to promote fair, diverse and inclusive workplaces. Weappreciate the quick action by state leaders to clarify the language in the RFRA so that the law cannot be used to discriminate against anyone.”

Cummins planned to issue a formal statement later today, but Jon Mills, Director of External Communications, said this in the interim: “We think the language in the Senate Bill is an important first step but we have more work to do, and we plan to push for a statewide non-discriminatory statute.”

In a statement from St. Louis-based Monsanto, No. 46 on the Diversity Top 50,the company revealed it has signed on to the national “Equality Is Our Business” pledge bythe Human Rights Campaign and asked businesses and the agriculture community to also take a stand against anti-LGBT discrimination.

Hugh Grant, chairman and chief executive officer for Monsanto said:

“We want our employees and customers, no matter what state they live in, to know that they are valued. Regardless of who you are or where you come from, we believe that everyone should be treated with equality, dignity and respect.

Monsanto has a long history of employing a diverse workforce and creating an inclusive environment for our employees. We are committed to recruiting, hiring, retaining, and promoting employees from all dimensions of diversity, including sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, and we oppose discrimination of any kind.”

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