A group of high school and college youth held a press conference in Indianapolis yesterday to announce that they're
anti-gay bigots opposed to same-sex marriage. While they tried to claim victim status like the religious right, the signs that they're an astroturf group started by religious supporters of the state's proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions are hard to miss.
Supporters have been apoplectic that the second sentence of the amendment was removed when it passed the state House of Representatives last month. They've been sending non-stop email blasts to urge supporters to contact state senators to "restore the second sentence."
"The Senate should restore the second sentence because without it marriage remains vulnerable to redefinition and will more likely face prolonged litigation in court," said Shane Weist of Lafayette, spokesman for the group.
He said group members found each other through Facebook posts on the issue.
"The media claims we don't exist. Freedom Indiana claims there are none of us left. But as young Hoosiers, we are here today," he said.
"We are committed to rebuilding culture to ensure that children are not intentionally deprived of a mother and a father. ... We stand to send a clear message that we uphold the truth of marriage."
They claim they met organizing on social media like Facebook, but the astroturf group's page was established after the press conference and uses graphics also used by the religious right groups that are meant to look like Freedom Indiana's graphics. Most of the students are from one university.
The front group also didn't bother to register the URL for their name, Young Hoosiers for Marriage. That web address, www.younghoosiersformarriage.com, now redirects to Freedom Indiana's pro-gay/anti-amendment website.
A poll by Freedom Indiana found that 83% of Indiana youth oppose the amendment - no matter how many sentences it has.