Indianapolis chamber of commerce opposes gay marriage ban

Indianapolis, Ind.

Indianapolis, Ind.

INDIANAPOLIS — Efforts to defeat an upcoming bid by Indiana lawmakers to add a same-sex marriage ban to the state constitution received a major boost this week when the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce said it will oppose the ban.

The Indianapolis chamber said its board of directors voted Tuesday to adopt a position to work with “other business, faith and community organizations to defeat (the ban) at the Statehouse and, if necessary, to participate in any voter referendum on the issue.”

Indianapolis, Ind.

Indianapolis, Ind.

“The Indy Chamber is in the business of strengthening our economy and attracting top talent to our region,” board Chairman John Thompson said in a statement. “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.”

While the Indianapolis Chamber represents only the central Indiana business community, it is one of several large business interests that have come out against the proposed constitutional ban, including the state’s largest companies, Columbus-based engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. and Indianapolis drug maker Eli Lilly and Co. The companies the Indianapolis chamber are backing Freedom Indiana, a bipartisan coalition that is fighting the proposed ban.

The statewide Indiana Chamber of Commerce has said it will remain neutral on the amendment.

The Indianapolis Chamber board adopted a position that says the state’s well-documented need to retain its college graduates and plug a “‘brain drain’ by attracting talent on a national scale would be inhibited by adopting an unnecessary, discriminatory amendment with fading support from younger generations.”

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It says Indiana is the only state with a potential marriage amendment up for consideration nationwide in 2014, making the ban, if approved, “conspicuous … in portraying Indiana as a state that welcomes some, but not all, talented workers.”

The General Assembly approved the proposed ban in 2011, but the current Legislature would have to approve it again before it would go to voters for a statewide referendum. Indiana law already bars same-sex marriage, but backers of the constitutional ban say it would provide an impediment to potential court decisions that would overturn the state law.

Freedom Indiana’s campaign manager, Megan Robertson, lauded the Chamber’s decision in a news release as “Hoosier common sense: They know it’s bad for business and will hurt our ability to attract new jobs and talent to Indiana,” she said.

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