Business Heavy Hitters and Local LGBT Groups Unite To Fight Indiana’s Ban on Same-sex Marriage
A newly formed coalition in Indiana is seeking to defeat the latest attempt by the state to constitutionalize their ban on same-sex marriage, according to the Associated Press. The coalition is formed by both advocacy groups for LGBT rights, and a interests with perhaps a different angle – big business.
The proposed amendment will go to its second vote in the 2014 Indiana legislative session, where passing the amendment would put it to a statewide popular vote. This would be bad news for same-sex couples seeking to marry in Indiana in all likelihood, however the good news is a recent poll put support for the amendment at 38%, according to WLFI.
The Freedom Coalition, which gets name from both a city in Indiana, and the concept that America was built on, hopes to get LGBT couples better represented in the usually conservative state. The group announced its formation in front of a crowd of hundreds of supporters at the Indianapolis Artsgarden wednesday.
The coalition’s campaign manager is Megan Robertson, a Republican strategist who successfully elected Rep. Luke Messer to Congress. She announced that their effort would be bipartisan, and went on to talk of gathering support among other Indiana Republicans who oppose the amendment. Many Indiana Republicans oppose the amendment, because, as Robertson told the Associated Press, the believe it threatens the rights of gay and lesbian Hoosiers, and would harm Indiana’s reputation.
Avoiding damage to the state’s reputation is a newer angle in the fight to stop anti-progressive legislation, perhaps because only in recent years has this type of legislation been widely seen as anti-progressive. This is where big business comes into play. Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical giant based in Indiana, as well as engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. had representatives at the Freedom Coalition’s announcement gathering, and will be a large part of the coalition itself.
Robert Smith, Eli Lilly’s director of corporate responsibility, told reporters that the amendment would sell Indiana’s tech and science industry short of ”the very best and brightest” young talent by driving those job-seekers out of Indiana.
“We want Indiana to be an attractive place to live and a wonderful place to do business. And we want those outside our state to view Indiana in the same way,” Smith told AP. The teaming up of big business with LGBT groups could prove a formidable foe to supporters of the amendment. This is good news, as many similar efforts in states like Arkansas and Virginia are gaining steam without the assistance of big money.
Supporters of the amendment haven’t chosen to disagree with this statement specifically, but rather suggest the coalition’s argument, which says defeating the amendment would be good for business, simply isn’t a strong enough justification for damaging the moral fabric of the state.
Micah Clark, of the of American Family Institute of Indiana, said same-sex marriage supporters use the economic argument as “a scare tactic” to distract from what they believe the issue at hand is – defending “traditional marriage”.
“They attempt to pit economic fears against the needs of children and society provided by natural marriage,” Clark said in an email to AP
Nonetheless, the sentiment among a diverse crowd at the rally was hopeful and dismissive of the fairly uninteresting arguments of support for the amendment. Jacob and Jonathan Balash, Hoosiers who married in New York, spoke out against the amendment, as he worries it’s potential passing could threaten their 8-year-old son’s medical benefits. Their son was also in attendance.
The desire to not go backward seems to be the main theme for this latest effort, and that is exciting.
“It will make the state seem more backward, less advanced and we already have that stereotype. It will help cement that in people’s minds,” Jacob Balash said.
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