New Indiana group pushing to defeat gay marriage ban
Indiana businesses and other groups are uniting to stop a ban on gay marriage in the state. They say it will be bad for business and bad for Indiana.
A group called Freedom Indiana launched their initiative Wednesday to fight the proposed amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage in Indiana.
You might be surprised at the group's membership. It's made up of people from some of Indiana's largest companies because they say a gay marriage ban would hurt their business and the state's economy.
Some might assume big business would be in the Republican camp on this issue, but it is not. In fact, there were some Republicans in the crowd as well, which means the usual lines in this debate are blurred.
If you want to know what has really changed in the gay and lesbian movement in Indiana, you need to read between the lines. The rainbow coalition has gone mainstream. It's become big business.
Rob Smith is President of the Lilly Foundation.
"This is an unnecessary step and barrier that is being created for Lilly, Cummins and other businesses to bring people from outside to come and work here in Indiana," he said.
Smith is referring to the constitutional amendment to define marriage in Indiana. One day after announcing a new deal with Nissan truck that will bring 500 new jobs to the state, Cummins representatives traveled to Indianapolis to stand with Eli Lilly.
Jon Mills represents Cummins Inc.
"This bill works counter to diversity and inclusion. In order to have a more welcoming environment we have to have that inclusion to have that welcoming environment. As we are a global company trying to attract, recruit and maintain top talent," said Mills.
The group calling itself Freedom Indiana is not only bolstered by big business. It has turned to a Republican strategist to run the show.
Megan Robertson formerly worked with Congressman Luke Messer.
"I think momentum has shifted and is coming from the other side of the issue and is on our side," said Robertson.
Lawmakers could have voted this issue up or down last legislative session but elected not to. Now, many believe times have changed just since the last session and it could mean a very different vote this time around.
Rob Smith from Eli Lilly said even debating the issue of a constitutional marriage ban at the Statehouse sends a contrary message. But in the past, House Speaker Brian Bosma has said in a written statement issued shortly after the United States Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act last June, "I am confident the matter will come before the General Assembly and ultimately be placed on a referenda ballot for voter consideration."
Groups like the American Family Association are steeled for statewide referendum. Micah Clark discussed what was a stake at the time of the Supreme Court ruling.
"The issue of marriage is too important to decide. Like 31 other states have done, whether or not we want to protect our laws or keep them as is, where a mom and a dad matter and marriage involves men and women or if it's undefined and can involved anything any group wants," said Clark.
Megan Robertson says in this case enough is enough.
"There is already a law saying gay marriage is illegal. We don't need a constitutional amendment. It's unnecessary," she said.
The phrase "Hoosier hospitality" was brought up many times today. Lawmakers will have to decide if that phrase which the state is known for applies to marriage. If they say yes, then Hoosier voters will get decide in November 2014.