Statement as issued Monday by Indiana University:
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University today announced that it has joined many of the state’s leading businesses and organizations as a member of Freedom Indiana, a bipartisan grassroots campaign launched this summer to oppose amending the state Constitution to define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman.
Freedom Indiana was created to oppose House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR6), which calls for an amendment banning same-sex marriage to be sent to the voters for a statewide referendum in November 2014. The Indiana General Assembly will consider the issue in its next legislative session, beginning in January 2014, at which time it could decide to vote down, table or approve the amendment be placed on the ballot.
“Equality, compassion and respect for individuals have long been the bedrock of Indiana University’s educational mission, and the lack of tolerance implicit in HJR6 runs counters to IU’s deeply held values,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. “We are proud to join the Freedom Indiana coalition and, in doing so, stand with some of Indiana’s most respected employers and organizations on the side of fairness.”
McRobbie also noted that HJR6 would, if approved, provide some prospective employees a disincentive to locate in Indiana, adding to the state’s challenges to remain economically competitive.
“HJR6 sends a powerfully negative message of Indiana as a place to live and work that is not welcoming to people of all backgrounds and beliefs,” McRobbie said. “As a major employer in the state, IU competes with universities and companies around the world for the very best talent, and HJR6 would needlessly complicate our efforts to attract employees to our campuses around the state.
“The university looks forward to lending a strong voice in the effort to ensure that the state’s Constitution is not altered to codify an intolerance that is not representative of the best of Hoosier values.”
In signing onto Freedom Indiana, IU joins some of the state’s largest and most progressive employers in opposing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Indiana, including Cummins Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company, as well as the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and civil rights organizations such as the Indiana Equity Coalition, Freedom to Marry, Gill Action, American Unity Fund, American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and the Human Rights Campaign.
Columbus-based manufacturer Cummins, which has long been a leader in the fight against a same-sex marriage amendment in Indiana, welcomed the university to the Freedom Indiana coalition.
“Cummins has a long history of commitment to diversity as a core company value,” Chief Administrative Officer Marya Rose said. “We think being inclusive promotes better ideas, promotes innovation and helps us better meet our customers’ needs. We are pleased that Indiana University is joining Freedom Indiana and others to oppose House Joint Resolution 6, which would be contrary to one of our Company’s key core values that we believe is important for our long term success.”
Likewise, Eli Lilly officials praised IU’s decision to join Freedom Indiana.
“Eli Lilly and Company is committed to finding solutions to some of the most difficult diseases humans face,” said Rob Smith, senior director of corporate responsibility. “To be successful, we must attract and engage a highly talented, increasingly diverse workforce. HJR6 makes these efforts unnecessarily more challenging.
“Our state would be far better served by setting this divisive resolution aside and focusing on more important issues, such as jobs and education. Lilly thanks Indiana University for its stand against HJR6 and for adding significant momentum to our collective efforts to stop this harmful amendment.”
About Freedom Indiana
Freedom Indiana is a bipartisan statewide organization that champions liberty for all Hoosiers. It was formed in August 2013 to oppose an amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would permanently alter the state’s definition of marriage and potentially affect hundreds of rights related to marriage under current Indiana law. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Freedom Indiana is run by an independent board of directors headed by Indiana Equality Action Executive Director Rick Sutton.