Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

October 31, 2013

IU joins conflict on ban

School shows leadership with its opposition.


Kokomo Tribune

---- — Indiana University has joined the right side of the fight by opposing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Indiana.

University officials announced Monday that IU was joining Freedom Indiana, a bipartisan campaign that counts as members many of the state’s leading businesses and organizations. Last week, the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce (which calls itself Indy Chamber) joined Freedom Indiana. It represents 3,000 member businesses and 235,000 employees in central Indiana. Original members were Eli Lilly and Co. and Cummins Inc.

Thus, IU joins with other state leaders who understand that continued legislative action to essentially embed discrimination into the state constitution will show Indiana to be a backward-looking state that isn’t welcoming to everyone.

IU President Michael McRobbie joined other real leaders in the state in explaining his and the university’s opposition to House Joint Resolution 6, the legislation supporting a constitutional amendment.

“Equality, compassion and respect for individual choice have long been the bedrock of Indiana University’s educational mission, and the lack of tolerance implicit in HJR6 runs counter to IU’s deeply held values,” he said.

He also repeated the theme sounded by major business leaders in the state. “HJR6 sends a powerfully negative message of Indiana as a place to live and work that is not welcoming to people of all backgrounds and beliefs. As a major employer in the state, IU competes with universities and companies around the world for the very best talent, and HJR6 would needlessly complicate our efforts to attract employees to our campuses around the state.”

Officials from Lilly and Cummins welcomed IU to the battle.

“Cummins has a long history of commitment to diversity as a core company value,” Chief Administrative Officer Marya Rose said in a news release. “We think being inclusive promotes better ideas, promotes innovation and helps us better meet our customers’ needs. We are pleased that Indiana University is joining Freedom Indiana ... .”

Rob Smith, Lilly’s senior director of corporate responsibility, said: “Our state would be far better served by setting this divisive resolution aside and focusing on more important issues, such as jobs and education. Lilly thanks Indiana University for its stand against HJR6 and for adding significant momentum to our collective efforts to stop this harmful amendment.”

The H-T has spoken out consistently against the amendment as well, including in an editorial last month calling for the Legislature to back off on the amendment. That editorial noted Indiana’s conservative Republicans are swimming against the national current, which is showing a growing majority of national support for same-sex marriage to be legal, as well as overwhelming support among all people 18 to 34 years old.

As we said last month, legislators pushing the constitutional ban look small-minded and make our state look that way, too. They’re trying to saddle future generations with their social perspective.

Congratulations to IU for recognizing the many reasons this constitutional ban would be bad for Indiana, and for being willing to speak out on the matter.

— The Herald-Times, Bloomington