Indiana chamber staying neutral in gay marriage fight

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The Indiana Chamber of Commerce likely won't get involved in what could be a contentious fight next year over whether to add a gay marriage ban to the state constitution, the pro-industry group's president said.

The lobbying group will remain neutral on the proposed amendment unless its board of directors unexpectedly decides to take a position, chamber President Kevin Brinegar told The Times of Munster..

"We have members on both sides of the issue, so we have not adopted a position either in favor or opposed to the proposed constitutional amendment," Brinegar said. "I don't see that changing."

Executives of two well-known Indiana companies — Columbus-based engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. and Indianapolis drug maker Eli Lilly and Co. — have argued against the amendment, saying they worry it could make the state appear unwelcoming and hurt their recruitment of employees.

The Indiana chamber is among the most prominent lobbying forces within the Statehouse on business and education issues.

Prominent Republican leaders — including Gov. Mike Pence, House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro-Tem David Long — support the push for the proposed amendment. State law already prohibits gay marriage, but supporters of the ban say they want the stronger legal step.

Bosma and Long have said they expect the General Assembly to vote during its session that starts in January whether to advance the amendment to a statewide referendum. If legislators approve that step, the proposal would go before voters on the November 2014 ballot.


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