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Indy Chamber to oppose gay-marriage amendment

October 22, 2013
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The Indy Chamber plans to oppose a proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage, the business advocacy group announced on Tuesday.

"The Indy Chamber is in the business of strengthening our economy and attracting top talent to our region," said John Thompson, chair of the Indy Chamber Board of Directors. "The proposed marriage amendment does nothing to help show the nation that Indiana is a place that welcomes all, not just some, and we must be mindful of how actions such as this will impact our competitiveness on a national and global level."

The Chamber noted that two of Indiana's largest employers—Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. and Columbus-based engine manufacturer Cummins Inc.—oppose the amendment because they believe it could damage the state's image and make it harder to recruit new employees.

"Indiana has set the standard for being a state with a strong, stable economy, one which attracts and retains some of the world's top talent. The passage of [the amendment] would be a major step backward in this mission," Thompson said. "Legislative proposals in coming years should only serve to strengthen our economy, not weaken our appeal."

The gay marriage ban is expected to be a top issue in Indiana in 2014 as Republicans controlling the Legislature face a deadline to pass the amendment in order to put it to voters. Lawmakers passed the proposed amendment in 2011, but the bill needed a second vote of approval either this year or next year in order to go to voters.

Lawmakers let the issue lie dormant this year while they awaited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. In June, the court ruled 5-4 that the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by states, was unconstitutional.

Other states recently have considered adding a gay marriage ban into their constitutions. Republicans in Minnesota pushed the issue to the 2012 statewide ballot, where it failed on Election Day. The campaign that formed to defeat the amendment quickly turned its resources to legalizing gay marriage, which became law earlier this year.

North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in May 2012.

Supporters of the bans say placing them in the constitution makes it harder for future lawmakers and judges to undo laws against same-sex marriages.

The Chamber's announcement on Tuesday claimed that "no one has been able to clearly define what effects the amendment would have on existing marriages, employer-provided family benefits, human rights ordinances, legal contracts and other protections for all unmarried couples."

Chamber officials said Tuesday that they would work with other opponents of the Indiana amendment during the 2014 legislative session.

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  • creative community
    How do we get a creative community when stifling conformity (to someone else's dictates) seems to be the norm?
  • Let's Move to Indy!
    It doesn't matter if it passes or not. Nobody intelligent is going to say "Gee, I think I want to move from the Valley to Indianapolis because, get this, they like gay marriage." That there are people here who think that talented people are going to move here or not move here because of how we feel about gay marriage is laughable. People will move here if and when we ever get a creative community. Until then, dream on, Indy.
    • obession
      Self-appointed guardians of other people's morals are so concerned with what consenting adults do. Could it be that they, themselves, are . . . deprived? Put your own house in order before you tell other people how they should live their lives.
    • Even more fascinating
      People like Rick actually believe that people will flock to bigotry and ignorance. Rick, I have actual stats that show young people are actually growing less traditionally religious and more socially conscious. Can you back up your claims with actual information? Your dream of creating a state full of evangelic, overweight, uneducated senior citizens isn't exactly future-oriented.
    • smarta
      Actually, it's the opposite. If we DO get on board with the gay movement, we're doomed. Eternally. The state will prosper more by avoiding this atrocious trend. The ban is a great & needed step forward for Indiana. As for me and my house, our vote is for the amendment .
    • Fascinating
      Those of you who are SO concerned about immorality are aware that you live in a state with one of the highest divorce rates in the country, yes? And how about that obesity rate? Alcoholism. Meth labs. Indiana should consider using the Seven Deadly Sins as a tourism tagline, because we seem to excel at most of them.
    • Politics Aside
      Listen, this is not a political issue as it applies to the people of the state. As the bickering in the state house goes on, what we're really missing is that this amendment has way more to do with the success of this state as a business leader and the home of top corporations. If you're looking at this as a moral issue, you've missed the point completely. If Indiana does not get on board with the pro-gay marriage crowd, we're doomed. New contracts to bring top companies will stop and we'll stagnate. Don't be silly.
    • Finally, A Clear Voice is Heard!
      This is great news! Reading the bigoted comments here, we have a long way to go, but it's great to know that so many of our more enlightened citizens are helping turn the tide in favor of equality for ALL, not just some. Marriage equality is really quite simple: Let two people who love each other have a life-long commitment to each other and share the same rights and protections as any other couple. Period. Nothing more, nothing less, simply equal.
    • Message for the Legislature
      Feel the hatred... let it flow through you.
    • Unnatural?
      First, hooray for the Chamber. Sometimes it takes real courage to stand up for what's right...and you found that courage. And to those who keep using the word "unnatural" ...you know, my older brother is left handed. He always has been, ever since he was old enough to realize the difference. He can't ever remember not being left-handed. In school he was mocked because of it, so he tried being right-handed but quickly realized it "just didn't seem natural for some reason" and accepted that he was left handed...and always will be. In the same sense you might say his actions are not typical of most of us...but it's HIS way and it's not bad. Maybe we should use the words "less common" for both these little understood, natural traits.
    • Thank you!
      Firstly, thank you, Indy Chamber. Secondly, Brad, the rights of a minority should never be put to a popular vote.
    • s
      s: Love the sinner. Hate the Sin. There is a very distinct line between the two. Concerned: that's a pretty broad brush you're painting with...after all, there are no smart, moral, young people who might want to live in a state which supports their morals and values. If a young person is going to leave the state because of gay marriage, guess what - they're going to leave anyways because of some other issue that they don't agree with the state on. People are naturally drawn to others that are like minded. So I say, ban gay marriage and, while you're at it, outlaw abortion then stand back. The state will be flooded with an influx of new citizens who value the stand the state has taken. I repeat - opposing this amendment is a bad choice for the Chamber.
    • Law
      I hope all you people fighting over this realize this is a law already. Why waste time and money on something that is already a law?
    • Ridiculous
      Opposing gay marriage will have be a detractor for top tallent and will send our young college graduates to more progressive states.
    • Sinners
      Heaven forbid we let the voters make this decision. After all the people of Indiana are all to stupid to know how we want our morality portrayed. Many Hoosiers don't believe in this immorality. That's what the minority is afraid of! Sodom and Ghommorah!!!
      • Hold It!
        JBT "There is no other reason why someone can support a gay marriage ban other than hate and bigotry." Completely invalid argument! I do not hate, I am not a bigot, and I support the ban. Yes, I am Christian and I also have a science background...it is unnatural. Also, please practice what you preach. Stop calling us conservatives "hateful, right wing bigots". Pot calling the kettle black by calling us these terrible names. My church welcomes all, as we all sin. It is not a sin to be gay, the sin lies in the physical expression between a gay couple, which again is unnatural - just as much as a heterosexual couple. The point is you must be celibate.
        • Right Choice
          About time. Hopefully the legislature will drop this non-sense. Let's move on to some important, impactful issues.
        • chamber
          Bad choice Chamber.
        • Really?
          So you consider good morals to include teaching your children to bully people, treat them unfairly and not let them be who they are and love who they want to love? A good moral philosophy is to do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. Would you want to be bullied, hated and treated unfairly? If not, then don't treat others that way. Its a fairly simple philosophy.
        • Weep for the Future
          I find this to be abhorrent and appalling. How can anyone believe that the marriage of anyone could impact anyone or anything other than those to be wed. We talk about teaching children good morals but we condone the oppression and down right humilation of other humans. We as a nation have come to far to keep fighting this fight. Once upon a time we believed african americans to be less than dirt, how did that turn out?!? Or does Indiana regret this decision? Love is love!!
        • Thanks Indy Chamber
          Thank you Indy Chamber. I hope you can convince the State Chamber of Commerce to follow your lead. Indiana needs to treat all of its citizens fairly. Lets not be the "Alabama and Mississippi" of the Midwest in being extremely behind on civil rights issues decades after the rest of the country passed its civil rights laws. We all know how that helped them to be looked at as progressive, intelligent, competivive states (not). The right wing bible thumpers need to realize that there is a separation of church and state. If you want to oppose same sex marriage for biblical reasons -- you can say that in your (bigoted) churches -- but you cannot force your homophobic, bullying beliefs into government laws that discriminate. Many religions and congregations are supportive of same sex marriage. To push a particular law for one particular religious branch's biblical reasons is only codifying religion into state laws. This obviously is very wrong. It is clear that if Indiana passes such a discriminatory law into the state constitution - the lawyers from all over will quickly pounce and successfully show that the discriminatory law is completely unconstitutional. This would be simply another case of the hateful, right wing bigots like Sarah Palin / Michelle Bachman / Todd Rokita / Mike Pence / Scott Schneider, etc continuing to bully people that are different from them. There is no other reason why someone can support a gay marriage ban other than hate and bigotry. Why not say people with red hair cannot marry each other? Its basically the same philosophy. We don't need to constitutionalize hate and prejudice into our state government laws.
          • Really?
            At this point, with state after state and court after court recognizing marriage equality, its a little late to the party to allow bigoted & narrow minded Republicans to push this obnoxious hate law though the legislature. It would be akin to passing a law to ban VCR players today, pointless and past its day in the sun. "The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice"
          • gay away
            I thank the ones the board for standing up for what's best for Indiana and our heritage of marriage between [1] man & [1] woman. It's hard to teach children all their life good morals and then some group tyr's to change it. Thanks
            • Hallelujah
              I am so happy and relieved to see the Indianapolis Chamber oppose this heinous amendment. What a waste of our taxpayers money and a detriment to our economy that our Republican legislatures are so hellbent on weakening Indiana's appeal to future employers and potential top talent. Thank you, Indy Chamber.
            • The Right Direction for Indiana
              I applaud the Indianapolis Chamber for taking a stand for inclusion and against bigotry. We need to attract the best and the brightest from all walks of life to Indiana. This is the right direction for Indiana. Now lets see of the Indiana Chamber will stop its cowardly indecision and make the same stance.

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