Opponents of same-sex marriage ban introduce Republican campaign manager

Opponents of a same-sex marriage ban in Indiana are trying to strike a bipartisan tone by hiring a Republican campaign manager who had worked for Mayor Greg Ballard and Rep. Luke Messer, a supporter of the constitutional ban.

Megan Robertson was introduced Wednesday as the campaign manager for Freedom Indiana at the group’s campaign kickoff event, held at the Artsgarden in downtown Indianapolis.

“Regardless of your political affiliation most Hoosiers value fairness,” said Robertson. “I’m not the only Republican who supports this, I’m just the one that’s the most (visible) today.”

Officials from Eli Lilly and Cummins were also at Wednesday’s rally.

“HJR6 is bad for business and bad for the state of Indiana,” said Robert Smith, director of corporate responsibility for Eli Lilly and Company. “We want Indiana to be an attractive place to live and a wonderful place to do business and we want those outside of Indiana to view our state the same way.”

Not surprisingly, supporters of the amendment have a different view.

“At the end of the day, we think Hoosiers support traditional marriage,” said Ryan McCann with the Indiana Family Institute. “We should just let the people decide on that once and for all (and) what better way to do it then to just go ahead and put it on the ballot, rather than allowing unelected folks or even politicians decide that. it’s such a key foundational issue we think Hoosiers should decide that.”

“I think it’ll be very divisive,” said Indiana Equality Action President Chris Paulsen. “But if it does end up on the ballot, we’re ready to take that fight.”

The resolution has already passed the General Assembly once. If it passes next session, it would go on the ballot in November 2014. Still, officials with Freedom Indiana said they hoped they could convince legislators to change their minds.

“Time is definitely on our side on this issue,” said Robertson. “Public opinion polls are showing that opinions are trending in a different direction.”

“This amendment permanently threatens liberty for all Hoosiers and sends the message that our state is an unwelcoming place,” said Paulsen. “Hoosiers place a high value on freedom and we want our state to be as welcoming as possible.”