INDIANAPOLIS – Denise Moe spent Wednesday celebrating a federal judge’s ruling striking down Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban, but she says the real work in support of marriage equality has just begun.
Moe, a Republican activist from conservative Hendricks County, plans to spend the summer volunteering for a statewide public education campaign that aims to change the hearts and minds of same-sex marriage opponents.
“We’re thrilled with the court decision, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. We need to change the way people think and feel,” said Moe.
Moe is part of a bipartisan coalition of individuals and groups called Hoosiers Unite for Marriage. They’re collecting and sharing stories of same-sex couples through social media and community and church meetings. Such stories include that of an 87-year-old veteran whose partner of more than 50 years died without being able to leave him survivor’s benefits.
For Moe, the sharing meant taking the case for same-sex marriage to last month’s state Republican convention, where she told fellow delegates of her children’s friends whose parents are same-sex couples. “I told them, ‘These are people who love their children just like we do,’” said Moe, a married mother of two.
“Conversations make a difference,” said Kyle Megrath, coordinator of the Hoosiers Unite group. “Like never before, Hoosiers are talking about what marriage means, and they’re rapidly coming to the conclusion that it’s just wrong to exclude same-sex couples, who are their neighbors and friends and family members, from marriage just because of who they are.”
The new group sprung from the Freedom Indiana campaign that earlier this year derailed legislation to write a same-sex marriage ban into the state constitution.
Republican leaders who control the Statehouse pushed the amendment but found opposition from GOP lawmakers who’d initially supported it but changed their minds. Several said their conversions were inspired by the personal stories of constituents and clergy.