By Ann Marie Shambaugh
The Whitestown Town Council passed a resolution promoting diversity and inclusion and updated the town’s existing non-discrimination policy in the employee manual to include sexual orientation at its April 14 meeting. Both measures received applause from the audience after passing unanimously.
“Whitestown is open to all and discriminates against no one,” said Eric Miller, town council president.
The town is also working on an ordinance to create a human relations committee, which is expected to be discussed again in May.
Whitestown drafted the resolution and ordinances in response to the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Gov. Mike Pence signed into law March 26. After the state received national criticism and boycott threats, Pence signed an amendment designed to reduce concerns that the new law could be used by businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation.
The Zionsville town council planned to vote on a similar resolution outlining the town’s inclusiveness at its meeting April 6, but after Pence signed the revisions the council decided to drop the last-minute item – for now.
“With the late adoption of the amendment, it appeared that a resolution was of little consequence other than voicing our position, and rather only those communities that had a non-discrimination ordinance actually had some ability to demonstrate that they had the ability to do anything about discrimination within their community,” said Steve Mundy, Zionsville town council president. “We are considering such an ordinance and our attorney is gathering ordinance information from the communities that have one now for us to consider.”