Freedom Indiana launches fight against constitutional amendment

Aug 21, 2013

A bipartisan coalition of community, faith and business leaders opposing Indiana’s proposed amendment banning same sex marriage is promising a well-funded campaign against lawmakers who support the measure.

Indiana Equality Action President Chris Paulsen speaks to supporters at Freedom Indiana's launch Wednesday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The General Assembly approved a constitutional amendment in 2011 banning same-sex marriage. If the legislature passes it again next year, it would go to the voters in November, 2014, as a referendum.

The newly-formed Freedom Indiana is vowing to fight its passage.  Veteran Republican campaign manager Megan Robertson will steer Freedom Indiana’s campaign.  She says the issue is not about Democrats versus Republicans.

“This issue does not just affect the LGBT community here in Indiana.  It affects our businesses, our faith institutions, our friends and our neighbors.”

Robertson says even if the amendment passes the legislature and goes before the voters next fall, she anticipates a lot of state and national money supporting the fight against it. 

Robert Smith, corporate responsibility director at Eli Lilly, says his company supports Freedom Indiana’s cause because the amendment, known as HJR6, promotes inequality.

“Putting HJR6 into our state’s most important legal document presents a barrier to us in recruiting and retaining that great talent.”

Smith says Lilly and Freedom Indiana will work hard to defeat the measure in the legislature. 

However, Indiana Family Institute Public Policy Director Ryan McCann says the people of Indiana deserve the right to have their say at the ballot box.

“It shouldn’t be politicians or activists or even big business that defines what marriage is here in Indiana.  It should be the people.  The people should just have a right to vote; we should let democracy work.”

He also thinks putting the marriage amendment on the ballot will help lawmakers who support it.

“You’ll end up getting a ground swell of folks who maybe don’t normally vote that come out and vote in favor of marriage, especially in a more conservative state like Indiana.”

Republican legislative leaders and Governor Mike Pence have already pledged to push the measure next session.