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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ind. Law - Senate hearing this morning on HJR 6

This morning the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a public hearing on HJR 6, the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Both Cummins and Lilly representatives are present, testifying against the amendment. I don't recall that they testified before the House committee hearings earlier this ession, although several years ago the companies did testify against a similar measure, SJR 7, which failed to pass out of House committee on April 3, 2007.

From an editorial today in the Indianapolis Star:

Yet, Republicans also have wasted far too much time on secondary issues. The Senate, for example, is today scheduled to take up consideration of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The proposed ban already has passed the House, back when that chamber was at least at some level of functionality. If the Senate also approves the resolution, the issue would come back before the General Assembly in two years, and, if passed again, go before voters in 2014.

It's important to remember that Indiana already has a strong and secure law against gay marriage. Unlike in other states, Indiana's law is not under challenge in the courts, and likely wouldn't be overturned if it were brought up for legal review.

So what would be accomplished by a constitutional ban? It would send a strong message that not only gays and lesbians but also their families and friends aren't fully welcome in Indiana.

That's why several top business leaders -- whose companies depend on the ability to recruit and retain skilled workers from a wide range of backgrounds -- have spoken out against the constitutional ban. Today, on the facing page, the chief executive officers of five major Indiana employers implore legislators not to move forward with the proposed amendment. Their concerns for the long-term strength of this state need to be fully considered.

Here is the letter, headed "Marriage ban distracts from economic goals." It is signed by Angela F. Braly, chairman, president and CEO of WellPoint; John C. Lechleiter, chairman, president and CEO of Eli Lilly and Co.; David Simon, chairman and CEO of Simon Property Group; Jeffrey H. Smulyan, chairman, president and CEO of Emmis Communications Corp.; Tim Solso, chairman and CEO of Cummins. A sample:
Over the last decade, our companies began providing various domestic-partner benefits. We did so because we believe that embracing diverse perspectives, skills, experiences and talents engages our employees and strengthens our decision-making. Simply put: Diversity is critical to our success. Moreover, we have an obligation to our shareholders, our customers and others to consider the impact of any legislative proposal on the reputation of our state as a tolerant and inclusive place to live and work. Our success is directly affected by our ability to attract the best talent in the world. We're in a global war for such talent, which requires more than just offering competitive salaries and benefits. We also must offer a diverse and innovative state and community for people to call home. HJR 6 would severely limit our ability to bring those talented individuals home to Indiana.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 16, 2011 10:44 AM
Posted to Indiana Law