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Does Carmel need anti-discrimination ordinance?

Posted at 9:35 PM, Sep 09, 2015

A Christian bookstore in Carmel has put its opinion of the controversial religious freedom issue on display as the city debate's its own anti-discrimination ordinance.

Owner Don Burosh said the three words on the sign outside his business say it all: Respect religious freedom.

"It seems that nationally, freedom of religion is under attack," Burosh said. "Constitutionally, you have to allow people to worship in the way they are called to worship."

Burosh said that even though the words come at a controversial period for Carmel, the sign itself is more than three years old and originates from a Knights of Columbus faction out of Fishers.

"They had them available for people to take and it just made sense to put one in our door window," Burosh said.

MORE | Carmel city leaders back expanded protection for sexuality and gender identity | ITW: RFRA fight not over after 'betrayal,' faith leader says

When it comes to the ordinance itself, Burosh said he's not sure it makes sense.

"Personally, I don't know that it's necessary," he said. "We get a wide variety of people in the store and we treat everyone who comes in the same. God welcomes all people and that's pretty much our intent."

Burosh isn't alone. Community members and civic leaders alike have concerns about the ordinance as it currently stands.

"The issue is, if you begin to micro-manage, if you begin to pass a law, will you, through the law's unintended consequences, do something that you hadn't intended at all?" said Carmel City Councilor Luci Snyder.

Snyder is the head of the four-member finance and rules committee tasked with taking a closer look at the ordinance.

"It was correctly sent to committee because of the vast interest on both sides," she said. "It's a good process, in that it forces you not to do anything quickly that you might regret. It forces you to take a good, hard look at what you're doing."

The Carmel Finance and Rules Committee meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. next Thursday at city hall.