A dozen mayors from throughout Indiana are joining several universities and employers in opposing a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would further define marriage. Most statements from the bipartisan group focus on economic development and what the mayors term a welcoming environment. December 3, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Today, a bipartisan group of mayors from across Indiana are standing together to launch Mayors for Freedom – a coalition dedicated to defeating HJR-6, the proposed constitutional amendment that would ban all protections for same-sex couples and their families.

The bipartisan group of Indiana mayors oppose the amendment for a variety of reasons but they all agree the language should not be added to the state's constitution.

“We're proud to stand with these mayors from across our state as champions of freedom for all Hoosiers,” said Freedom Indiana campaign manager Megan Robertson. “They represent cities large and small, and they understand that this amendment will make it harder for them to build their local economies, recruit new residents and maintain existing protections for same-sex and unmarried couples.”

See below for statements from each mayor:

Mayor Greg Ballard – Indianapolis

“I understand that many people hold differing views on this subject, but Indiana law already defines marriage and I don't see the overriding government interest in adding such an amendment to our state's constitution. Indy is renowned for its 'Hoosier hospitality' and working hard to attract new jobs and people to our city. My hope is that we can continue to work together and focus on those things that make Indy a place where people want to live, work and raise a family.”

Mayor Jim Brainard – Carmel

“I am a Republican and believe in limited government. Government is not the institution that should decide who is allowed to marry. Moreover, Indiana law already covers this issue and therefore, it is not necessary to add it to the Indiana Constitution. Our government needs to be focused on attracting and retaining good jobs and improving public education for future generations.”

Mayor Tom Henry – Fort Wayne

“Each day in Fort Wayne we're working hard to attract and retain businesses, jobs, and families. Our City is committed to being a welcoming place for families and individuals seeking great opportunities, friendly neighborhoods and a strong sense of community. We're asking the Indiana General Assembly to focus its attention on issues that help cities across our state be more competitive in economic development and position us for future growth and success with a quality of life that is unmatched.”

Mayor Pete Buttigieg – South Bend

“Indiana's constitution exists in order to protect rights and freedoms, not take them away. Our state must be welcoming and respectful of all individuals, or we will be left behind. Changing the constitution in order to deny certain protections to some Hoosier families would send the exact wrong message as we work to grow and develop a competitive economy in cities like South Bend.”

Mayor Jon Costas – Valparaiso

“I am opposed to amending our state constitution to prohibit gay marriage for a number of reasons. First, Indiana law already defines a marriage as only between a woman and a man. Thus, the amendment is unnecessary. Second, as a conservative, I feel that government should be limited, and not unduly intrude into social issues that are best left to individuals, families, and faith communities. And finally, as a mayor who wants to foster a welcoming, diverse and collaborative community, I believe the amendment would portray Indiana in a negative light and hinder opportunities for economic growth.”

Mayor Thomas McDermott – Hammond

“In Hammond we wanted to make sure that all people feel welcome and so we passed a resolution through the city council that I signed as mayor stating our inclusiveness of all people, regardless of sexual orientation. The path that the legislators who support this amendment are taking only makes certain groups feel unwelcome in our state. It's backwards thinking, on the wrong side of history and not part of what I know as Hoosier hospitality. I will do anything I can to help defeat this amendment that I consider in contravention of what Indiana should be doing on this important civil rights issue.”

Mayor Mark Kruzan – Bloomington

“Bloomington benefits economically because it's a welcoming community in which people want to live, visit, and grow a business. HJR-6, in addition to being an unnecessary infringement of basic rights, threatens the business-friendly reputation of Indiana cities.”

Mayor Kevin Smith – Anderson

“In Anderson, our focus is to create an environment attractive to business – one where those businesses can grow. We actively work to recruit businesses to our city not just locally or nationally but globally. HJR-6 harms those efforts. It is important that Indiana remain a welcoming community focused on those things that can grow our economy.”

Mayor John Dennis – West Lafayette

“The City of West Lafayette prides itself on being a diverse, tolerant and welcoming community. For years we have been a state-wide leader in celebrating our diversity and ensuring that all our citizens are treated with respect. Because of this guiding philosophy, West Lafayette and the Greater Lafayette community has celebrated having over a billion dollars of new investment for 2013. HJR-6 sends the wrong message for our City, for our community and for our state.”

Mayor Greg Goodnight – Kokomo

“HJR-6 is bad for Kokomo and for our state. This amendment sends the wrong message at a time when we are competing for new residents and businesses. The legislature should be focusing on how we reduce the number of vacant foreclosed homes in our cities, and on how we get Hoosiers back to work instead of this unnecessary amendment.”

Mayor Richard Hickman – Angola

“Equality means equality for all. Equal rights means equal rights for all. To take these rights away from one group of people means we can take them away or deny them to anyone we don't understand or agree with.”

Source: Freedom Indiana

Last month, Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke sent a letter to Representative Ron Bacon (R-75), calling the proposed amendment, “an unnecessarily divisive proposal at a time when the most critical issues of fostering economic development and creating a high quality of life in Evansville, Indiana and America require our shared focus and effort.”

You can read Mayor Winnecke's letter to Representative Bacon by clicking here.

He also issued a statement today to Evansville legislators.

December 3, 2013

Statement From Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke

“I appreciate all that both sides are doing to get their message out; however, my primary focus in regards to lobbying the General Assembly is to make Evansville more competitive for economic development and growth. Issues such as funding for the medical school expansion and proposed elimination of the personal property tax, which would cost the city $7.3 million annually, are my Administration’s current legislative priorities. After receiving numerous requests on my position on HJR-6, I communicated my opposition directly to the legislative delegation representing the city of Evansville and Vanderburgh County, because our state legislators are the initial decision-makers in this process.”

Source: The Office of Mayor Lloyd Winnecke

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