Indy Chamber joins opposition to marriage amendment



By Lesley Weidenbener

INDIANAPOLIS – A Central Indiana business group announced Tuesday that it will join an effort opposing a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Hundreds of people gathered in August in downtown Indianapolis at the Artsgarden to kick start Freedom Indiana, a gay rights coalition that is launching a campaign to stop a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Photo by Jesse Wilson,

Hundreds of people gathered in August in downtown Indianapolis at the Artsgarden to kick start Freedom Indiana, a gay rights coalition that is launching a campaign to stop a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Photo by Jesse Wilson,

Officials at the Indy Chamber – which represents 3,000 businesses with 235,000 workers – said members are uncertain about the proposed amendment’s impacts on employer-provided benefits, human rights ordinances and legal contracts.

“The Indy Chamber is in the business of strengthening our economy and attracting top talent to our region,” said John Thompson, chair of the Indy Chamber’s board of directors. “The proposed marriage amendment does nothing to help show the nation that Indiana is a place that welcomes all, not just some, and we must be mindful of how actions such as this will impact our competitiveness on a national and global level.”

The Indy Chamber’s executive committee approved the position statement on Tuesday.

Supporters of the constitutional amendment responded by saying the chamber’s decision was “unfortunate.”

“According to Kiplinger Financial Magazine, the top five states for best business growth in 2012 and 2013 all have marriage protection amendments,” said Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana. “The myth that public policy support for traditional marriage is somehow bad for business is nothing more than a red herring and a scare tactic.”

Clark said the “future of marriage belongs in the hands of Hoosier voters, not the board room of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.”

Still, the local chamber joins a growing list of companies and organizations taking a stand against the amendment, which has already passed the Republican-controlled General Assembly once. It needs a second approval in 2014 to be placed on the ballot for voter ratification next year.

Republican legislative leaders said earlier this year that they expected the amendment would pass in 2014. But more recently, the GOP majority caucuses have been meeting behind closed doors to discuss the amendment.

Any delay or changes in the amendment means the lengthy amendment process starts over.

Opponents of the amendment have joined forces as Freedom Indiana, which issued a statement Tuesday about the chamber’s position.

“The Indy Chamber represents the voices of hundreds of businesses in Indianapolis and the Central Indiana region, and we look forward to working with them to support Indiana’s economic future by protecting liberty for all Hoosiers,” the group said.

Already, two of Central Indiana’s largest employers – Eli Lilly & Co. and Cummins – have opposed the amendment and joined Freedom Indiana. But the Indiana Chamber of Commerce – which represents businesses statewide – has not joined.

During the summer, Kevin Brinegar, the group’s president, told The Times in northwest Indiana the chamber is likely to remain neutral on the marriage amendment.

“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 told The Times.

On Tuesday, state chamber spokeswoman Rebecca Patrick said, “That statement is still true.”

The Indy Chamber said in a policy statement that the marriage amendment could make it harder for Indiana to retain its college graduates.

The “necessity to ease this ‘brain drain’ by attracting talent on a national scale would be inhibited by adopting an unnecessary, discriminatory amendment with fading support from younger generations,” the Indy Chamber said. “As the only potential marriage amendment up for consideration nationwide in 2014, it is important to be mindful of the conspicuous part (it) would play in portraying Indiana as a state that welcomes some, but not all, talented workers.”

Also, the chamber said that while same-sex marriage “continues to be a divisive issue in Indiana, there is sustained, growing evidence of discomfort among citizens with adding a broad, discriminatory amendment to our state’s constitution.”

The proposed marriage amendment reads:

“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

Polls have shown that Hoosiers are changing their views on the amendment and same-sex marriage. A poll released by Freedom Indiana found that about two-thirds of Hoosiers are uncomfortable with the constitutional amendment but many fewer say they would actually vote against it.

A poll released by the Indiana Family Institute, which supports the amendment, found that two-thirds of Hoosier voters favor defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Officials at the Indiana Family Institute did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the Indy Chamber’s decision. But earlier this month, Curt Smith, the group’s president, said the “Hoosier electorate has a very settled opinion on the topic of marriage.”

“When given approximately a dozen arguments for and approximately a dozen arguments against the marriage amendment, the results were strikingly similar,” he said. “This is a remarkably stable, well-informed electorate that will be voting on this issue in 2014.”

Lesley Weidenbener is managing editor of, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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  1. If a majority of voters want an amendment, there should be an amendment. If a majority of voters want to legalize homosexual marriage, they will elect representatives to legalize it.

    That’s how it works constitutionally in Indiana.

    • agree…..homosexual marriage has been voted down at the ballot box through out the country at least 32 times…….yet homosexuals sue and activist judges over rule the people……

      • Gay marriage is already illegal. This is just about scoring political points and making Indiana look more like Alabama. The rape baby comments sent us further down thst road, and this would do more harm. Indiana is a national laughing stock.

        • Gay marriage is not illegal. It is unconstitutional to make it illegal. That is why the issue must be addressed through a constitutional definition of marriage.

  2. And, remember, the Chamber was the big money behind Right to Work. I’ve been told they want the Republicans to go after prevailing wage next session.

  3. Why would we take the time, effort, and money of passing this Amendment when in the coming years the Court is going to rule that same sex marriage (or civil unions) cannot be prohibited?

    When you have the Chamber telling the Indiana GOP the Amendment is crap, it’s crap. This kind of crap is why the GOP can’t break through to the younger generations. The Marriage Amendment is pure discrimination, there’s really no other reason for it.

    If these bible-thumper hacks really want to protect marriage, outlaw divorce. But they don’t want to protect marriage, they want to discriminate.

    • How is attacking one one his religious convictions any different than attacking one one his sexual orientation? The hate needs to stop on all sides.

      Never the less, I suspect you are right that there will be a federal marriage mandate. That is not a good thing because it enlarges federal power trough court decree past constitutional limitations.

      • If you’re religious, don’t marry a gay person. There you go! Your “convictions” are safe.

        • OK, then if you favor gay marriage then marry one. see how foolish things get when we resort to bumper sticker logic?

          My thoughts on homosexual marriage has nothing to do with religious convictions, but this issue will be decided at someone’s convictions and someone else will feel discriminated against. Most have bought into an emotional appeal in supporting homosexual marriage, and many who do not favor it are not, as you said, “Bible thumpers.”

          Good and reasonable polices will not be achieved with each side calling the other side by their favorite pejorative.

          • I don’t have to be PC about why people dislike gay marriage. It’s because they want to discriminate and they have a prejudice against gays. Not offering marriage benefits to gays is completely unreasonable.

          • Then I don’t see how your prejudice is any better.

            Offering marriage to only two is also unreasonable.

  4. Bigotry is the only reason to be against letting gay folks marry each other.

    Who cares what the Indy Chamber of Commerce or the far right nutsos who rode the fading and fetid tails of the ‘baggers into various legislatures think? Another discrimination issue for the federal courts to settle. A fine issue to fill the campaign coffers of the crazed. More tax money spent defending the indefensible.

    • To dismiss opposing views as bigotry rather than present valid reasons that consider all the implications of providing state affirmation of unions based on love and commitment is simplistic and shows a lack of being able to present a reasonable argument.

      If a state constitutionally defines marriage as one man and one woman, and the federal court rules it as discrimination, then how will the state define marriage as only between two consenting adults and not be discriminating against others unions? Further more, how will anyone who has the authority of the state to officiate a marriage be able to decline on religious objections and not be in violation of anti-discrimination statutes?

      I still say that the best way to address this issue is to keep what has had eons of past practice and acceptance, marriage as one man and one woman, and remove the legal and tax codes that penalize all unions.

      • I’m not sure where your objections come from, IE, but try to think about the fact that “marriage” is nothing but a legal contract. By that definition, it can only be entered into by human adults. No children or barnyard fowl and animals can marry.
        If the numbers bother you, yes, it is possible for more than two people to enter into that contract. So what if a group of “swingers” decide to marry as a group? How does that hurt you? I don’t care how consenting adults achieve fullfilment, so long as I am not required to help, watch, or hear the details. Do you?
        If you don’t wish to officiate at a union you do not approve of, then just say “no”. Better yet, work to legally protect your right to refuse instead of trying to take intrinsic rights from other people.

        • First, there is no intrinsic right to marry. There is a right to pursue happiness, but that pursuit does not necessitate state licensing of it.

          I don’t think we have to worry about Wilbur marrying Mr.Ed, but then if it makes them happy and they are in love and committed, who are you to deny them that intrinsic right? To use your reasoning, “how does that hurt you?”

          And with a court order a person below legal age can marry. There is already an activist organization fighting for adult men to be allowed to marry an underage boys. Again, “how does that hurt you.”

          If we issue license based on love and commitment, and a group of swingers want to marry, how do we tell them no? You seem to have no problem with it, but if the are NOT allowed to marry, “how does that hurt you?”

          If the state grants a marriage license to two of the same sex based on love and commitment, should two of the same gender who are closely related be granted a license? If so, then why not two of different genders but closely related? How does that hurt you?

          (Getting tired of the “how does it hurt you” yet? That’s what happens you you substitute piffy phrases for sound reasoning.)

          My point is that when we start changing laws based on emotion rather than principles, the laws become meaningless. If we add homosexual preferences to the marriage law based on no other principle than love and commitment, then sooner or later we will have to add other definitions until marriage is just a meaningless civil ceremony with no real contractual purpose. This fact is evident in that many are calling to remove states from the “marriage business.”

          LKD, “Better yet, work to legally protect your right to refuse instead of trying to take intrinsic rights from other people.”

          Bandana implied that people with my views are bigots, so are you saying we should make bigotry are legislated right?

          • Let me start at the end of your comment. Bigotry IS more than a legislated right, already. You cannot be prosecuted for how you feel toward others. I know that bigoted thoughts will continue, even when the legal rights of those you discriminate against are upheld. No one can change what is in your heart and mind. My suggestion was that you work for legislation to allow you to refuse to officiate at same-sex weddings. You can continue to object to the practice, but you can’t stop it. If you want a law to “protect” your bigotry by not participating in it, that is your business.
            I said nothing of “love and committment” being a basis for a marriage license. The only basis should be that two or more consenting adults wishing to enter into a legal contract, emotions aside.
            I do not know enough about the genetics involved to make a judgement concerning adult incest, but I do know that most states do not now prohibit marriage between first cousins. Beyond that, if a sexual relationship is prohibited by law, then it seems to me that the law would also prohibit the issuance of a marriage license.
            I would be interested in your reply to my questions posed to you below.

          • LKB, “Let me start at the end of your comment. Bigotry IS more than a legislated right, already. You cannot be prosecuted for how you feel toward others.” I know that bigoted thoughts will continue, even when the legal rights of those you discriminate against are upheld. No one can change what is in your heart and mind.”

            While it is true that it is legal to be a bigot, careful about using the second person. I am not a bigot. My religious views on homosexuality are no more based on how I feel about a person than my religious views on adultery, lying, stealing, murder, or any other behavior that does not honor God. You have never seen me say that homosexuals will burn in hell because they are gay.

            Although I contend that religious opinions have just as much of a voice in legislation as secular ones, I oppose writing religious laws and have been careful to not mix my religious convictions into my views on the issue of homosexual marriage. It seems to be others who can not keep “my religion” out of “their opinions.”

            I feel that changing the definition of marriage to include favor only one type of non-traditional unions based solely on love and commitment is bad policy making that will result in creating more problems than it corrects. “That does not make me a bigot or a Bible thumper.” In fact, where have you seen me thump my Bible at this issue?

          • LKB, “I said nothing of “love and committment” being a basis for a marriage license. The only basis should be that two or more consenting adults wishing to enter into a legal contract, emotions aside.”

            Yes, marriage is a legal contract and therefore is between adults. But what necessitates that government should extend its authority to a contract? Furthermore, why should that authority be extend to one group and not others? That extension can only be done if there is a a unique factor and need presented.

            Heterosexual unions are unique in that only a heterosexual relationship can result in a new and unique life being created. Admittedly most people wrongly view a marriage license as the state’s sanctioning of a couple’s love and commitment. It is not. Likewise, a marriage license is not a “mandate” to pro-create. The question is “what is unique about homosexual relationships that necessitates state sanctioning of their unions over other non traditional unions?”

      • “I still say that the best way to address this issue is to keep what has had eons of past practice …”

        Really? Do you feel the same way about considering women as chattel? How about keeping slaves? Do you like religous intolerance? If “it’s been the way we’ve always done it” is your best argument, you’re in trouble!

        • Do our current marriage laws equate to women not having property rights or having another person as a slave? That’s a bit of an exaggeration, and my argument is not that we have always done it that way.

          I still say the best solution is fix the punitive laws rather than changing the definition of marriage.

          • You missed the point. It is that once those were accepted practices, because “it’s been that way for a long time.” Yes, marriage equality DOES equate to those other antiquated practices. The human race changed what had been practiced, and is better for having done so. Marriage equality is another in a long line of “we did it this way for a long time” practices, and most of us can see that what we need to change our practices. Now do you understand?

          • So homosexuals are being denied the right to vote, own property, and are held as salves because they do not qualify for a state sanctioned marriage?

            I did not miss the point; I disagree with your point. Homosexual marriage is not marriage equality. That is just a catch phrase. Homosexual marriage singles out a group of people and grants the state’s authority to them based solely on sexual preference while denying it to other groups.

            The current marriage laws applies equally to all. I can’t marry another man and qualify for a license either. Homosexuals can marry, but if it is someone of the same gender they do not qualify for a license.

            But do not see that as me saying some things shouldn’t be corrected and should never change. I have said several times the punitive laws need to be changed for all unions.

  5. Bigotry is the sole reason for denying gay people the right to marry each other. Citing religion as a rationale is not a valid justification in secular America or anywhere else. The simplistic denial of civil rights to gay folks is in itself a potent self-affirmation of its injustice. Goofy imaginings and extrapolations of what might happen in an America with equal marriage rights for all don’t count for anything either.

    This train has left the station and the deadenders remain where they like it best, on the wrong side of the tracks, on the wrong side of the issue. They have cost the once respectable Republican Party mightily and aren’t done yet.

    Ho ho ho.

    • So are you saying that because I do not support adding other definitions to state sanctioned marriage that am a bigot?

      Your response is nothing but “we win” rhetoric without any actually reasoning as to why we need it or how will will deal with the insularity issues it creates.

  6. The Indianpolis Chamber is a little late to the party. Their two-cents is welcome but matters little. They waited until public opinion (and big Indiana employers) had turned irrevocably from the bigotry of the past on the gay marriage ‘issue’. Still, better late than never but their contribution to equality will always be seen as unnecessarily delayed and driven by the dollar.

    • You got that right! When the Chamber turns on the GOP, you know the Republicans are in BIG trouble!

      • For a different reason you’re right. It’s all about political pandering. Do you really think democrats are not pandering for the gay vote?

        I don’t think it is an issue that needs the Chamber’s weight.

        The thing that bothers me the most in the picture is the flag. What is it telling us? That we are now the gay United States? To me it is a bad as displaying a confederate flag. Why not display our flag instead of some gay knock off of it?

        The whole issue just reeks of political agendas.

          • âš¡My 1:25pm comment was seriously truncated by forces unseenâš¡.

            Enoch, your feelings on same sex marriage are clear, sort of. You wrote:

            ‘My thoughts on homosexual marriage has [sic] nothing to do with religious convictions,…’.
            ~~ 10/24/13 ~~ CCO


            ‘I wish the verses I quoted weren’t in the Bible. Partly because they require me as a leader to take a stand I would rather not take, and partly because they stand against me also. But they do exist and I can not simply dismiss them with out dismissing the God behind them.’
            ~~ 5/15/2011 ~~ CP

            You can continue to lead without being swaddled in that pretty flag in the picture. It is not too late to get on the right side of this issue, the Indy Chamber came to that money-driven conclusion. You can get there by tapping some of that pure morality deep inside. Many preachers do not share your feeling of being required to stand against same sex marriage due to Biblical scripture.

          • Bandana, are you seriously going to drag your OCD, out of context, “everything Enoch said,” behavior from the CP onto the CCO. Please don’t return to old bad habits.

            I never said I didn’t have religious convictions, but I have also said that I do not believe others must live by my convictions. If you want me to justify homosexuality as a God honoring lifestyle, then I can no more do that than I could adultery.

            But I have also said that homosexuals should have a right to live and build a live together and that we should fix laws which penalize all unions. However, that does not require we begin licensing all unions based on love and commitment alone.

            May the truncating forces be with you.

          • Your wrote what I said you wrote (and much more, you are something of a master at writing self serving blurbs, trying to cover all bases). I’ve got a million of ’em and while I might go away, they won’t.

            You shouldn’t be so ashamed of your incompatible statments that you resort to resurrecting your discredited habit of attributing to others syndromes (OCD, for instance) that you are indeed very familiar with. I’ll not be baited into one of the name calling fests you so enjoy.

            The only reason to deny full marriage rights to gay folks is bigotry. Pure and simple.

          • So, from my vast knowledge of the law, politics, philosophy, and anthropology, here is my predictions.

            Homosexual marriage will become federally mandated for every state. That will be another constitutional game changer. But the fight will not be over. We will have activist couples present marriage petition to those who object to homosexual marriage and sue them for discrimination and damages when they decline. Eventually, ministers who object to homosexual marriage will not be qualified to officiate a marriage on behalf of the state.

          • Bandana, “Your wrote what I said you wrote (and much more, you are something of a master at writing self serving blurbs, trying to cover all bases). I’ve got a million of ‘em and while I might go away, they won’t.”

            Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about events, small people talk about other people. I keep records of ideas and events but never keep a record what other people have said. So let that speak for itself. I am not afraid of any of the “millions” of things I have said which you have cataloged when they are used within the context in which they were said. So don’t blame me for your bad habits and your “dog whistling” the bigotry accusation.

            I am not a bigot. My concerns about this issue is how we are deciding it and has nothing to do with my personal or religious views. If the only things you have to contribute is sound bytes, platitudes, and “we win” rhetoric, then so be that. Just keep your dog whistle in your pocket and your bad habits on the CP forums where it is appreciated.

      • One more thing, without republicans are we going to become a one party system? That would be worse than our two party system.

        • I agree with you about the two-party system, but the Whigs died out, and we survived. All of the data I see says that the Tea Party is not going to be the new Republican Party, with 28% approval and 54% disapproval. I think the Libertarians’ time may have come.
          Although I wear the “Democrat” label, I am not in lock-step with the party. The data shows that most of us are basically “centrist” in nature and the far-right is pushing the center into the Democrat column. That will turn us back into the “disorganized” party we have historically been, and improve the health of the political system.

          • “Tea Party is not going to be the new Republican Party” I don’t think that was ever the tea party’s intention.

            I do think the libertarians have a shot, but they are going to have to become more like John Stossel and get away from the Jesse Ventures.

            Moderation is killing the Republicans. They were able to tic off half the people going into the shut down, and the other half coming out.

            You impress me as a fiscal conservative and social liberal which is the main line democrat. The democrat leadership however is mostly far left. I am a fiscal and social conservative.

            IMHO, Boehner, McConnell, and McCain(or Parkes) will never unite or strengthen the GOP and libertarians will continue to attract people like myself. Conservatives as myself are more driven by principle, while liberals are driven by feelings. It is much easier for a liberal to remain democrat than for a conservative to remain republican. The democrats know that and see the opportunity to seize control. I think we might have a couple decades of their control.

            Spirited people like us just have to remember that we are not one another’s enemy.

  7. Enoch, just explain why you need to control other people’s lives? You don’t have to get gay married just because others want to.

  8. You people crack me up…lol

    Why would anyone care what two consenting adults do? no logical person would care, but you know sex isn’t about satisfying one’s sexual desires like it’s constantly discussed, it’s about how (fill in your own beliefs here) gave us the ability to propagate the species, one thing is for sure not a single gay couple can naturally propagate.

    Bottom line is that (again fill in your own beliefs here) must have got it wrong when we were (sorry, yeah fill in yet another blank with your beliefs).


  9. I didn’t think it would take long for the above exchange to happen on the CCO. Mr. Editor, please run a story about the cross display in our fair city! It will boost site traffic. 🙂

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