Lilly Opposes SJR-7

As reported in the Indy Star (and by bilerico.com, Advance Indiana and Taking Down Words):
Eli Lilly has joined several other large Indiana corporations (Cummins, Wellpoint, Dow AgroSciences) in opposing SJR-7, the Marriage Discrimination Amendment:

“As a result of this uncertainty (over what the amendment’s impact might be,)” Murphy wrote, “some employees may choose to leave Indiana to work in a state where these benefits are perceived not to be threatened. Given the great lengths Lilly takes to attract and retain top talent from around the world, we oppose any legislation that might impair our ability to offer competitive employee benefits or negatively impact our recruitment and retention.”
In addition, Murphy wrote, Lilly is concerned the amendment “sends an unwelcoming signal to current and future employees making Indiana appear intolerant.”

Bilerico notes that the legislation is still tabled in the House Committee, and although there are rumors about when it will reappear for further discussion and votes, it hasn’t yet been scheduled.

Continue ReadingLilly Opposes SJR-7

Indiana Newspapers Against SJR-7

I was in the middle of putting this post together when Bilerico beat me to it… Newspapers that have come out against the SJR-7 marriage discrimination amendment legislation:

Continue ReadingIndiana Newspapers Against SJR-7

Colts raise $20,000 for Anti-Gay Group

This is being discussed in the comments on my post on Tony Dungy – but it bears pulling up to it’s own entry – at the Indiana Family Institute Dinner, the Colts sent merchandise to be donated off in an auction, which raised $20,000 for the organization to oppose gay rights and to support SJR-7.

Seats for the event at the Ritz Charles, one of the institute’s largest annual fundraisers, went for $75 apiece. In addition to the more than $50,000 raised from ticket sales, the institute auctioned off enough Dungy-signed Colts footballs, helmets and paraphernalia to raise nearly another $20,000.

In keeping with the Colts theme, Dungy was introduced by Colts punter Hunter Smith, whose Christian band Connersvine served as the evening’s entertainment.

While it’s not a public press release of their support for the anti-gay group, it is an endorsement directly from the Colts home office of the marriage discrimination amendment, and is profoundly disappointing.

Continue ReadingColts raise $20,000 for Anti-Gay Group

House committee tables SJR-7 vote

According to Bil from Bilerico:

The House Rules and Legislative Affairs committee listened to three hours of testimony regarding SJR-7, the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions. After several members of the committee commented that they’d like more time to review the testimony before voting on the matter, Chair Scott Pelath closed the hearing without holding a vote.

I’m sincerely hoping this is a good thing… I’m also hoping that if/when it does come to a vote, I can be there. I wasn’t able to take off work today because of all the stuff I have left to do after SXSW.

UPDATE: More on the committee meeting and the amendment from the Star.

UPDATE: The South Bend Tribune makes it sound much more like the amendment may die in committee.

Continue ReadingHouse committee tables SJR-7 vote

Cummins plans to testify against proposed ban

From the Indianapolis Star:

No private employers testified against a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage when it was before the Senate, but that will change when discussion begins today in the House.
Cummins Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tim Solso has sent a letter to House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, encouraging him to oppose the amendment.

In his letter, Solso told Bauer that that the amendment would hurt Cummins’ ability to attract the best employees.

“Anything that makes Indiana a less inclusive and less welcoming place for our current and future employees is bad for our business — and bad for the state,” Solso wrote.
The diesel-engine maker was one of the first major employers in the state to offer domestic-partner benefits. Solso told Bauer the amendment’s vague language could affect his company’s ability to continue to offer the benefits.

Mark Land, a spokesman for Cummins, said a human resources representative will testify against the proposed amendment before the House Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee this morning.

Continue ReadingCummins plans to testify against proposed ban

Tony Dungy against same-sex marriage

According to the Indianapolis Star:

Colts coach Tony Dungy said he knows some people would prefer him to steer clear of the gay marriage debate, but he used a speech Tuesday night to clearly stake out his position.

Dungy told more than 700 people at the Indiana Family Institute’s banquet that he agrees with that organization’s position supporting a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

“I appreciate the stance they’re taking, and I embrace that stance,” Dungy said.

Dungy’s comments came in the final three minutes of a wide-ranging, 20-minute speech that recounted stories from the Colts’ Super Bowl run, related his interest in prison ministry and described how he wondered whether his firing in Tampa was God’s signal for him to leave football and enter ministry. He also talked about his efforts to make the Colts more family-friendly by encouraging players to bring their kids to practice.

Local and national gay-rights organizations had criticized Dungy for accepting the invitation to appear at the banquet. The institute, affiliated with Focus on the Family, has been one of the leading supporters of the marriage amendment.

“IFI is saying what the Lord says,” Dungy said. “You can take that and make your decision on which way you want to be. I’m on the Lord’s side.”

The coach said his comments shouldn’t be taken as gay bashing, but rather his views on the matter as he sees them from a perspective of faith.

“We’re not anti- anything else. We’re not trying to downgrade anyone else. But we’re trying to promote the family — family values the Lord’s way,” Dungy said.

Previous IFI banquets had drawn at most 440 guests, according to organizers. But the appearance of the Super Bowl-winning coach to receive the institute’s “Friend of the Family” award set a record.

Sorry, Tony – this is gay bashing. Basically the textbook definition of it. And even if you’re are claiming to only be concerned with the marriage issue – Indiana Family Institute is not just concerned with that. They say they are, but they have written and supported legislation in the past that went far beyond concerns about marriage. IFI was responsible for a draft of state legislation proposing to quarantine gay men and lesbians in camps to ‘protect against HIV and AIDS’ in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Note, they weren’t talking about rounding up just people who had AIDS (although that legislation DID get passed) – they wanted to pull in all groups they considered ‘at risk’ and they felt all gay men and lesbians fit that category. Yeah… logic escaped them. This draft of the bill was quickly suppressed, but not before a copy of it made its way to the gay community by alarmed folks who read it.

This is the group that Tony Dungy is raising money for.

No Colts
Continue ReadingTony Dungy against same-sex marriage

SJR-7 Assigned to Committee

House Joint Resolution 15 (HJR-15), the legislation formerly known as SJR-7 and the marriage discrimination amendment, has been assigned to committee in the house. It’s been placed in the House Rule and Legislative Procedures Committee.

Please contact the members of this committee (information below) to oppose this legislation – for Democrats, remind them that putting this on the ballot in 2008 will kill the Democratic lead in the statehouse, among other things, and that the second line of the amendment will affect all unmarried Hoosiers. Ask them to change the ambiguous and broad wording.

Chair: Representative Scott Pelath (D)
http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_democrats/repsites/r09/contact.html

Vice Chair: Representative Russ Stilwell (D)
http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_democrats/repsites/r74/contact.html

Rep. Terri J. Austin (D)
http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_democrats/repsites/r36/contact.html

Rep. Earl Harris (D)
http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_democrats/repsites/r2/contact.html

Rep. Bob Kuzman (D)
http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_democrats/repsites/r19/contact.html

Rep. Dennie Oxley (D)
http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_democrats/repsites/r73/contact.html

Re. Matt Whetstone (R)
http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_republicans/homepages/r40/

Rep. Randy Borror (R)
http://www.in.gov/legislative/homepages/R84/

Ralph Foley (R)
http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_republicans/homepages/r47/

Rep. P. Eric Turner (R)
http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_republicans/homepages/r32/

Continue ReadingSJR-7 Assigned to Committee

SJR-7 and Eric Miller

Due to supervising all the work on my old house over the past few weeks, and the work on our current home (which is still ongoing. Sigh.), and a busy time at work, and preparation to go to SXSW, I’m guilty of quite a few “drive-by” posts: where I mention important things without enough context (or appropriate editing, grammar, spelling, etc.) or worse yet, fail to mention important things. Here’s a bit of a round-up of some Important issues I’ve been neglecting…

SJR-7 – the Marriage Discrimination Bill: got renamed for it’s entrance on the House side of the legislature: it’s now called House Joint Resolution 15 (HJR 15). It had it’s first reading, and will be assigned to a committee sometime soon – probably this week.

Now is an important time to contact your legislators – and to urge your friends and family to do so. Evangelical “Christian” Eric Miller has thousands of people writing to legislators in support of this bill, which will take away rights for all unmarried couples, not just gay ones.

On a side note – While Laura McPhee has written an excellent, must-read article for Nuvo on the very dangerous Eric Miller and how he’s pursuing taking away not just my rights but yours too on a whole host of issues, she fails to give credit to what is obviously one of her key sources on the issue – Gary Welsh from Advance Indiana, who’s published much of this information previously. We know how I feel about not citing sources. Tut, tut!

The Bias Crimes Bill (HB 1459) – got stalled because Jackie Walorski (R-Lakeville) inserted an amendment into the bill to make it a hate crime to have an abortion. Yeah. It wasn’t helped by the fact that Eric Miller got thousands to people to send in letters protesting it. Yes, that makes no sense if you know what the bill actually does – protects every single Hoosier from crime based on a perceived bias – but Miller was able to lie to his followers about the bill, claiming it gave special protection “homosexuals and cross-dressers.” Aside from the fact that this isn’t true, isn’t it a bit odd that Miller and his ilk are so emphatic/public about defending beating up gay and transgendered people? Makes me wonder what they do in their free time.

There are quite a few other things I missed writing about – Matthew Shepard’s mom came to town to speak at the University of Indianapolis on Tuesday night. I had the opportunity to go, but didn’t have time to attend. I’d really like to have seen her speak.

Continue ReadingSJR-7 and Eric Miller

University of Wisconsin’s Loss of Domestic Partner Benefits Loses Faculty

I linked to this story earlier, but the story bears more attention, and I’ve found some addition links with more information. The state of Wisconsin is pursuing a same sex-marriage ban and is refusing to provide domestic partner benefits, and as a result the nation’s leading researcher in nanotechnology, Robert Carpick, left the University of Wisconsin-Madison to go to the University of Pennsylvania – and he took the grant money for nanotechnology with him, basically killing UWM’s entire program.
Journal Sentinel: Researcher, grants leaving UW for lack of partner benefits
Wisconsin State Journal: Let state insure domestic partners

DOMESTIC PARTNER BENEFITS; Out of step, uncompetitive

This is essentially what will happen here in Indiana as well – to be competitive, universities need to attract the best and the brightest, and taking away these benefits will foster an air of intolerance that will keep them far away from Indiana.

Continue ReadingUniversity of Wisconsin’s Loss of Domestic Partner Benefits Loses Faculty

Alumni – Contact IU and Purdue about SJR-7

The bill I’ve been writing so much about lately – SJR-7 – will have an affect on the domestic partnership benefits that are offered by state universities. Currently Purdue and IU have these benefits, and Ball State and other universities have been considering adopting them to remain competitive for the best faculty.

Currently, the right-wing sponsors of SJR-7 are lying their faces off to universities and trying to convince them that the bill won’t have any affect on these benefits. Chris Douglas has a really good post about how wrong they are, and Gary Welsh also talks about the legal analysis while talking about the recent Associated Press article on this very subject.

If you are an IU or Purdue faculty member, staff member, student or alum, please contact the trustees by phone or e-mail immediately to ask them to voice opposition to SJR7. Also, please forward this information to any of your friends or acquaintances who are IU or Purdue faculty, staff, students or alums. (At the end of this [pos is a sample letter to the trustees, for your consideration.). Contact information for IU is below the fold. I don’t have info hand on Purdue, but it should be easy to look up.

If you wish to send an e-mail to a single address, the trustees’ secretary Robin Gress will forward messages: rgress@indiana.edu; tel. 812-855-3762; fax 812-855-5959.

If you wish to address all of the trustees in person, here are their e-mail addresses:

Clarence W. Boone, Sr.: cwboone@indiana.edu
William R. Cast: wcast@comcast.net
Jeffrey S. Cohen: cohenj@stifel.com
Casey B. Cox: cbcox@indiana.edu
Philip N. Eskey, Jr.: philannsq@aol.com
Stephen L. Ferguson: bdot@indiana.edu
Thomas E. Reilly, Jr.: tomreillyjr@hotmail.com
Patrick A. Shoulders: pshoulders@zsws.com
Sue H. Talbot: shtalbot@indiana.edu

Their individual phone numbers are listed at: http://www.indiana.edu/~trustees/contact.shtml
I suggest you also copy the university Provost–Michael A. McRobbie–and the director of University Human Resource Services–Dan Rives. Their e-mail addresses are: mcrobbie@indiana.edu and drives@indiana.edu.

Below is the text of a sample letter you could tweak and use, courtesy of John Clower from Indiana Equality.

Dear Trustees of Indiana University:

I am writing to urge you as a body to oppose Senate Joint Resolution 7. SJR7 is a proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would deny rights and legal protections associated with marriage to all unmarried couples, same-sex or otherwise.

Passage of SJR7 would have a chilling and deterrent effect on efforts to attract and retain the best IU faculty, staff and students. It would signal a statewide intolerance of diversity and work against IU’s efforts to create new economic opportunities in partnership with the private sector, particularly in the life sciences.
The quality-of-life issues and family protections that SJR7 could affect extend beyond health-care coverage to fee courtesy, emergency family leave, hospital visitation rights, inheritance decisions, family tax benefits and adoption rights. Moreover, SJR7 violates the spirit of IU’s nondiscrimination policy as well as the proud legacy of equality bequeathed to us by former IU President Herman B Wells.

Although some lawyers are apparently counseling you that Indiana’s public universities “might not” or “probably won’t” be affected by SJR7, other lawyers think that public universities would indeed be affected. Playing Russian Roulette with quality of life and family protections for unmarried couples and their children at IU is simply not acceptable.

Please voice your public opposition to SJR7, and please authorize IU’s statehouse lobbyist to carry that message to Governor Daniels and to the leaders of the Indiana House and Senate.
Respectfully,
[Your name]

Continue ReadingAlumni – Contact IU and Purdue about SJR-7