INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - A new coalition has been formed to fight the proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage in Indiana. It includes a pair of corporate giants.
Eli Lilly and Company has joined with Cummins, Inc. and a number of other organizations to support gay rights in Indiana. They have formed a political action committee that calls itself Freedom Indiana and they have hired a Republican campaign manager.
Freedom Indiana hopes to defeat the proposed ban on gay marriage when it comes up in the 2014 General Assembly but the organization is already preparing for the referendum that would result if it loses that fight.
"We're prepared to take our message to the voters next November," said organizer Chris Paulsen at a Wednesday rally.
It will do so with the help of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. Lilly spokesman Rob Smith called the marriage amendment unfair.
"So our values and our commitment to diversity require us to take a stand opposing this amendment,” Smith said.
Also on board is Cummins.
"We need a welcoming environment in order to recruit, attract, and retain the best talent,” Cummins spokesman Jon Mills said.
Organizer Rick Sutton said that gay rights is an economic issue.
"People vote with their feet," he said. "People move in and out of states because of this issue."
It's a movement bolstered by shifting public opinion. The WISH-TV/Ball State Hoosier Survey conducted late last year found 54 percent opposed to the marriage amendment and just 38 percent in support. In fact, the survey revealed a 45 percent-to-45 percent tie on the issue of legalizing gay marriage.
Megan Robertson will manage the Freedom Indiana campaign. She's a veteran who has managed campaigns for Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Congressman Luke Messer. She describes herself as "very strong Republican." She will now try to expand a bi-partisan coalition.
Organizers of Freedom Indiana are already on record saying that, if this goes to a referendum, they plan a campaign budget that would compare with the money spent by a candidate for governor. That would be millions of dollars.
Click here for more information about the group.
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