This morning's Star has an article on SJR-7 that has some points I wanted to pick up and comment on. The piece focuses on Lilly's opposition to the proposed amendment, but some of the sections stood out to me. (All emphasis is mine.)
First, the sidebar to the article says:
The House Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee will hold its second hearing on the amendment sometime next week. The committee's chairman Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, is expected to announce the time and date of the hearing today. The deadline for the committee to send the amendment before the full House is April 5.
So this still doesn't seem to answer the question I asked yesterday
about whether or not the amendment would come out of committee, but it does signal that another hearing will be forthcoming. I'm hearing from sources that the amendment will
come out of committee and will
go to a floor vote. I'll be anxious to see when the committee is scheduled.
I thought that the committee had until April 10th though - not April 5th. Anyone know which is correct? I don't see April 5 on that calendar at all...
Now on to the article itself:
"This sends the message that Indiana is an intolerant state," Carla Cox, a spokeswoman for Eli Lilly and Co., said of the amendment. "That's going to impact our business, our recruitment and retention of employees."
"I can't believe a company with the stature of Lilly and their enormous legal resources would take a corporate position like this without any specific legal reasoning to back it up," said Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Wheatfield, the amendment's author.
I literally laughed out loud when I read this quote from Hershman. It takes a legal degree to understand that writing discrimination against a minority group into the constitution would paint a picture of Indiana as an intolerant, hill-jack, fly-over state? Uh, yeah, Brandt. Here's a hint to the "good" Senator... Write an amendment to ban inter-racial marriage. I'm going to guess that no legal resources would be needed to state emphatically that it would send "the message that Indiana is an intolerant state."
"Lilly's management knows that this does not impact their benefit package that they want to offer same-sex couples," said Eric Miller, founder of Advance America, a conservative group that supports the amendment.
"What they're trying to do is take a stand that is decidedly out of the mainstream for Hoosier values and probably for the majority of their employees."
It just keeps getting better, doesn't it? Indiana's leading homophobe trying to claim that he represents the mainstream as versus Indiana's four largest businesses? Does he really want to take on Cummins Engine, Wellpoint, Dow AgroSciences, and Eli Lilly? Boy, for a Republican he's sure turning anti-business, isn't he?
House Democrats are pressuring Gov. Mitch Daniels to follow Lilly, his former employer, and give his opinion on the amendment.
Since he took office, Daniels has steered clear of the debate, saying it's a legislative decision that voters sign off on.
But Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, sent a letter last week to the governor asking for his input, given the growing opposition from some of the state's largest employers. Pelath chairs the House rules committee, which is considering whether to remove the amendment's second sentence.
Daniels, who has made job creation a top priority in his administration, continued to decline comment.
"The governor has firmly indicated that this is a process unique to the legislature and does not have any comment beyond that," said Jane Jankowski, Daniels' press secretary.
Am I the only one thinking that the governor is being a chicken-shit on this issue? I remember that while Daniels was running for office, he made a small pit stop to talk to some LGBT Hoosiers at a private meeting. He stated emphatically then that he thought marriage should be between a man and a woman, but, if I remember correctly, he wasn't too hip on an amendment since there was already a law on the books (DOMA). It's pretty common knowledge around the state that Daniels isn't one of those "God, guns and gays" Republicans (remember that during the gubernatorial primaries his opponent was Eric Miller who ran as the conservative alternative to Daniel's moderate viewpoint), so why is the Guv keeping mum on this issue? Is he worried that he'd hurt his chances of re-election whether with the Republican voter base or campaign contributors? While some leading LGBT republicans like to constantly tout the Guv as "with us" on this issue, if he won't (pardon the pun)
come out and say so, what good does that do us? If Daniels is truly worried about portraying Indiana as a world-class destination for new companies, he's going to have to take a principled stand against discriminating against part of the Hoosier workforce.
And finally, a clip from Speaker Bauer caught my eye at the end of the article:
Bauer said that when Lilly and three of the state's other largest employers speak, legislators should listen.
"I think this is very significant," Bauer said. "These are international corporations we're very proud of having here. If they're concerned, I think everyone should pay attention."
I'm paying attention, Speaker Bauer, as are my readers and folks across the state. We want to see if Indiana truly is an inclusive and welcoming environment not just for businesses, but for our most important asset - our citizens. Now if we could only get the majority of our legislators - Republican and Democrat - to be concerned about the welfare of our fellow Hoosiers as versus pandering to the religious right.
Hope springs eternal, folks. What's your take on the article?