Bil Browning

Indianapolis Tea Party Mayor Opposes Marriage Amendment

Filed By Bil Browning | March 18, 2011 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: business concerns, committee hearings, Greg Ballard, Ron Alting, state senate

It looks like just about everyone but the religious right and shameful politicians hoping to score points off the backs of a minority are lining up to oppose Indiana's marriage discrimination amendment. The amendment would not only ban same-sex marriage, it would also ban domestic partner benefits and civil union ceremonies.

At this week's greg-ballard.jpgSenate committee hearings, the legislators heard from representatives of every Fortune 500 company based in Indiana; all of the corporations oppose the amendment. The most unexpected opposition though came from Indy's Mayor, Greg Ballard; Ballard was the original "Tea Party" candidate - complete with big tea bags dunked into the White River.

CEOs of many of Indiana's largest employers, including WellPoint, Emmis Communications and Simon Property Group, as well as Cummins and Lilly, have come out against the amendment, as has Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, saying that he wants to stand with the business community.

The city does not offer domestic partner benefits, but some fear the law would preclude it from ever doing so. Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Ruth Morrison, who is gay, testified that the lack of such benefits has caused the department to lose two model employees to other states in the past year.

Thanks to the business concerns, Republicans decided to shelve the amendment and didn't vote on the measure. If it doesn't pass the Senate, it will be historic; the amendment - in one version or another - has passed the heavily Republican-controlled state senate every year since it was first introduced.

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Interesting that pleas from fellow Humans will not move them yet business concerns do. Must be an interesting perch up there looking out over a sea of money.

This bill would prohibit civil union ceremonies? How is that even remotely possible with First Amendment protections?

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | March 18, 2011 2:24 PM

I wondered about that, too. HJR-6 would ban the "legal status" of civil unions, but whatever "ceremony" one wants to go through, religious or not, couldn't be banned. The Hoosier LGBT community neither wants to infringe on religious definition of marriage or attendant ceremony, nor do we want ours dictated. We're talking only about equal legal/constitutional rights and benefits only here.

I think that's poorly stated in the article. It would prevent the state or any municipalities from attaching any benefits to a civil union or creating such a union in law (the old "anything that is similar to marriage" clause).

It shouldn't prevent people from holding private events celebrating their relationship, or even religious ceremonies with no legal benefits.

I don't care why they move, so long as they do :)

Good news indeed.

Rick Sutton | March 18, 2011 1:11 PM

It specifically mentions all things that are 'substantially similar to marriage.'

I doubt they could preclude ceremonies. They can certainly open a floodgate of lawsuits regarding governmental units' DP benefits--indeed, a Senate bill intended to do just that for state universities. I think it's temporarily dead.

Pray for us, folks. It's not over yet.

I think a few bits of information need clarification.

@T: Several large corporations came out in opposition to the proposed amendment several years ago, either 2004 or 2005. They cited the same concerns about it affecting their ability to recruit workers, and might put domestic partnership benefits they offer in legal jeopardy. The state Senate dismissed these concerns and voted for it anyway.

Several years ago, the amendment's backers made the outlandish claims that it wouldn't ban civil unions. Now they aren't even hiding that fact.

And Bil, from my understanding, the meeting ended without a vote and was just tabled for that specific meeting. There's no reason to believe it won't eventually be voted on in the state Senate's judiciary committee, probably sometime next week.


You are correct. I was there, and they postponed the vote until next week's hearing. What that means is really anyone's guess at this time.

I think they said they were postponing the vote because the hearing ran 40 minutes over the scheduled time. I wonder if it could really be because there were so many of us up in the balcony and they didn't want to vote with us there. I also wonder if some of them might be considering removing the second part. Whatever, I intend to be there next Wednesday for the vote.

@Matt: I realize the history of the votes. It is however 2011 with a much different economy. Even with a postponement on the vote, they hesitated. They hesitated after hearing these concerns by business. My point stands. Humans did not move there conscience but money did.

Brad Bailey | March 18, 2011 9:45 PM

It doesn't surprise me that Mayor Ballard opposes the amendment. The main purpose of the Tea Party is to address our government's 14 trillion dollar debt. It's the Republicans who are dead-set against LGBT rights.